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Academies everywhere by 2022

This week’s announcement by George Osborne – why him? – that all schools would have to convert to academy status in the next 6 years can’t have been that much of a surprise to anyone involved in the education world. The academy movement has been gathering momentum for ten years and it has been largely unopposed by the major political parties. In fact they all seem to have encouraged it. Like it or not central government seems to have lost confidence in local authorities managing the education service. Perhaps in some places this distrust was justified and perhaps in others it wasn’t. Whatever, we are in the midst of change.

I spent 12 years as a head of local authority schools. Apparently I needed more freedom. Some colleagues were adamant that we were held back by the local authority. I didn’t feel like that. But when Nottinghamshire County Council became Conservative led for a brief period it became clear that “academisation” was being encouraged. So we became an academy. Yes, there was a financial argument that we didn’t feel we could ignore but the main reason for leaving the local authority was a feeling that they didn’t really want us – they saw the writing on the wall. Since then the reduction in staffing at County Hall has meant that they don’t have the capacity to provide support.

The new world that the Chancellor announced will lead to the growth of multi-academy trusts. At the Trent Academies Group we are ready to work with others but it is important that the right trusts are matched with the right academies. It really can’t be a mad dash to increase numbers and nor should schools and academies jump into the arms of the first trust to show interest in them. Anyone joining the Trent Academies Group will be expected to show a commitment to ensuring that “everyone has the chance to shine brightly” but we are wise enough to know that there are many proud schools who want to retain their identity and make a strong contribution to the trust of which they are a part of .

Interesting times indeed. The Trent Academies Group is playing its part.

Phil Crompton
Chief Executive Officer