“Without doubt the most significant aspect of this report is its recommendation that local authorities should be able to take over schools which are in struggling academy trusts. This is simple common sense and would be welcomed by many communities who have seen their local schools taken over by unaccountable and negligent academy chains. Indeed it’s a demand that has already been made, many times. Notably in the case of the collapse of the Wakefield City Academies Trust where parents were forced to watch in dismay as their schools were then transferred to another set of unaccountable academy trusts without proper consultation or consideration for the needs and priorities of the community.
“This report is also the final nail in the coffin of the idea that coercing schools into academy status has been worth it, either financially or in terms of improving outcomes. It is worth remembering the huge sums that have been spent on the programme - £745 million on converting maintained schools to academies since 2010-11 according to the NAO. This is not to mention the vastly inflated salaries of academy CEOs and the numerous financial scandals the programme has engendered.
“It’s now time for a proper debate on what we want from our schools system. The academies programme has not delivered on its promised outcomes. But it has also produced a fractured and incoherent schools system in which the voices of parents, pupils and staff are diminished.”