Schools secretary Ed Balls has threatened that hundreds more schools could be turned into academies or private trust schools. He has identified 638 “failing schools” – one in five secondary schools in England – which could be targeted for academy status.
Somewhat confusingly, 26 of these “failing schools” are already academies.
Rather than improving standards, academies tend to exclude the students they think will lower their league table rating—including children with special educational needs and those from poorer backgrounds.
Despite this, many academies have themselves fallen into the government’s “failing schools” category. In the first wave of academies, over half were defined as “failing”. The number of children achieving grade C or above in five GCSEs was less than half the national average.
Last year ministers called for a review into the academies programme as evidence mounted that they were not improving education.
But Gordon Brown and Ed Balls are sticking with the plans because they are determined to push privatisation. Enriching private academy sponsors is more important to them than giving children a decent education.