Liberal Democrat education minister David Laws has called for Ofsted to be given greater powers to investigate standards in academies.
In an interview with the Independent, he called for the body to be allowed to inspect chains of academies. Currently, Ofsted is able to investigate standards at individual academies but cannot inspect chains, which account for 48 per cent of the institutions.
Mr Laws said when the academy programme started it was considered to be a "precious flower" requiring protection from the sun. However, it is now strong enough to be able to be subject to the same kind of scrutiny as other schools.
The Lib Dem minister said some academies are doing a very good job and others are performing less well - just as some local authorities are better than others.
"Ofsted must be able to shine a spotlight wherever it wants to. I don't want there are to be any constraints. It ought to be able to inspect the chains," he said.
Posted by Theo Foulds