Academy plans risky, County Councils Network warns

The County Councils Network (CCN) has cautioned that the government’s academisation plans are being pursued with ‘undue haste’ and could pose a significant risk to schools.

The CCN outlined that evidence around the plan to turn all state schools into academies by 2022 is mixed, with a number of experts warning there is little conclusive proof that the model is the most efficient way to improve education.

In an interview with the BBC, Councillor Paul Carter, chairman of the CCN and leader of Kent County Council, said: "My concern is that the change will lead to a poorer education system operating across Kent, and more broadly England, because the value that local authorities generally provide to schools will be removed."

In particular, Carter warned that the future of small schools and high-needs pupils were most at risk under the government’s plans.

Carter added: "If you have a school with five teachers, and two or three of those teachers become pregnant at the same time, you need those support networks to support those schools - otherwise their finances will not be sustainable and the school will end up in a spiral of decline."

A Department for Education spokesperson said: "Multi-academy trusts and stand-alone academies will work with regional schools commissioners to ensure the needs of the local community - including high-needs pupils - are met swiftly."