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“Let’s Complete The Work” – Cameron Reasserts Support For Academies Plan

PM robustly defends government's intention to convert all English schools into academies at Prime Minister's Questions

  • “Let’s Complete The Work” – Cameron Reasserts Support For Academies Plan
  • “Let’s Complete The Work” – Cameron Reasserts Support For Academies Plan

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The issue of whether all schools in England should become academies proved to be the main focus of this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn began proceedings by asking Prime Minister David Cameron to “Explain why he is intent on forcing good and outstanding school to become academies against the wishes of teachers, parents, schools governors and local councillors?”

With the Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan, looking on, Cameron replied, “The short answer is because we want schools to be run by headteachers and teachers, and not by bureaucrats.”

The full exchange can be seen below from 2 minutes 30 seconds in.

Cameron went on to cite what he described as ‘clear evidence’ of academies being drivers for school improvement – 88% of converter academies being rated good or outstanding, and schools started by academies and seeing 10% improvement on average over their first two years. He concluded, “The results are better, education’s improving – I say let’s complete the work.”

Corbyn in turn cited a comment made in January this year by former Select Committee chair and Conservative MP Graham Stuart: “Current evidence does not prove academies raise standards overall, or for disadvantaged children.”.

Corbyn also drew attention to last week’s Opposition Day debate on the government’s recent White Paper, which criticisms from the Conservative bench, including the following from Conservative MP Will Quince - “If a school is well-governed, well-run and performing well, it should be left alone and allowed to do its job.”

The Prime Minister, however, was clear in reiterating his support for the academies plan. “The truth is, academies and greater independence, letting headteachers run their schools, has been hugely effective,” he concluded. “We see massive improvements in our schools because of academies, and we say let’s get on with it, finish the job and give all our children a great opportunity.”

 

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