As reported in the Times:
Academy plan fails to satisfy Tory rebels
Nicky Morgan was warned yesterday that a partial climbdown over plans to force all schools to become academies would not head off a Tory rebellion.
The education secretary refused to confirm what concessions had been offered, after The Times revealed yesterday that she had proposed allowing the best-performing councils to run chains of academy schools. She faces questioning by MPs tomorrow, however, as pressure continues to mount over the academy proposals, announced by George Osborne in last month’s budget.
David Davis, the former shadow home secretary, warned against the risk of “overreach” in forcing all schools to adopt the academy structure.
“This ‘one size fits all’ approach is particularly unsuited to rural and coastal areas, and the government’s proposals to help local councils run academy chains does nothing to address these concerns,” he said.
The prospect of the U-turn was welcomed by a group of mostly Tory councils. Paul Carter, leader of Kent county council, said: “The County Councils Network support the initiative of local authorities with a good track record supporting schools forming multi-academy trusts.”
Other town hall leaders tried to pile more pressure on Mrs Morgan by claiming that schools run by local authorities had outperformed academies in their Ofsted inspections.
Figures showed that 86 per cent of schools controlled by their local authority were rated good or outstanding, compared with 82 per cent of academies and 79 per cent of free schools.
The analysis, by the Local Government Association, does not take account of the fact that academies were first launched as a way of turning around failing schools. Its own data shows that 58 per cent of formerly failing schools were rated good or outstanding after becoming sponsored academies, and 88 per cent of academies that chose to sever links with their local authority achieved the top ratings.