All schools can apply for academy status

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All primary and secondary schools can apply to become academies - as long as they team up with an outstanding school, Michael Gove will confirm today.

The Education Secretary insisted the plans would help drive up improvement in every school in England.

It means a satisfactory school can apply, providing it joins up with an outstanding school.

Earlier this year, Mr Gove wrote to every primary, secondary and special school in the country inviting them to apply for academy status.

Schools rated outstanding by Ofsted were pre-approved and their applications were fast-tracked.

According to new figures published today, 224 applications have been received since July.

About 200 schools, including those in federations, have been given an Academy Order, and 80 have opened so far. A further 64 academies have replaced schools that were failing.

Mr Gove will say: "We know that the best way of improving schools is by getting the professionals who have already done a brilliant job to spread their wings. That is why we are now allowing more schools to benefit by allowing all schools to apply for academy status, if they are teamed with a high-performing school."