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News - 24 April 2013

Halt to academy broker visits.

The Conservative leader of Lancashire County Council is urging government education officials to stop visiting schools in his local authority.

Geoff Driver says "academy brokers" are putting too much pressure on staff to turn schools into academies.

The government said support from what it called "academy sponsors" was the best way to improve struggling schools. In cases where schools are deemed by officials not to be performing well enough, the governors can be removed and the process of converting to academy status is forced.

Lavinia Newman, founder of ABDS comments:
“There have been allegations in some areas of the country that education officials, loosely known as academy brokers, have been putting head teachers under undue pressure to convert to academy status.”

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "The activity of some academy brokers falls far short of any acceptable standard of conduct and has even been shown by Ofsted to stand in the way of school improvement.”

A spokesman for The Department for Education said:
"If we consider that a school that has been struggling would benefit from the support of an academy sponsor, a full consultation is always held.”

Academies are independent schools funded by the state. The Department for Education (DfE) is using this type of semi-private school as its main vehicle for improving education in England.

If you need any help and advice with Free Schools, Academy Schools or Charities, contact Lavinia Newman or Peter Ham now to discuss how ABDS can help bring their experience to these matters.

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