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Government formally drops plans to convert all schools into academies

01/11/2016 Joanna

The government's previously-announced plans to compel all schools in England to convert into academies have been dropped, it has been formally confirmed.

In a written Parliamentary statement, education secretary Justine Greening has revealed that the education bill unveiled in this year's Queen's Speech by her predecessor Nicky Morgan will be now be scrapped, following on from recent amendments to the legislation that modified many of its core tenets.

Originally, it was intended that all schools in England would need to convert to academy status, or have plans in place to do so, by 2022. Under the academy system, schools are run independently with state funding and oversight by a not-for-profit business known as an academy trust.

However, in the months since the original announcement, the government reconsidered a number of elements of the plan, including a removal on the mandatory aspect of the academy conversion process in favour of encouraging schools to do so by choice.

Since the legislation was announced, there have also been significant changes to the make-up of the Cabinet, including Theresa May's installation as prime minister and the start of Ms Greening's tenure as education secretary.

As such, the new-look government will be pursuing a modified strategy, which is likely to incorporate Mrs May's proposals for more grammar schools to be introduced in England.

Ms Greening said: "Our ambition remains that all schools should benefit from the freedom and autonomy that academy status brings. Our focus, however, is on building capacity in the system and encouraging schools to convert voluntarily.

"No changes to legislation are required for these purposes and therefore we do not require wider education legislation in this session to make progress on our ambitious education agenda."

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