Gove admits eight academies are on notice over failures
The Education Secretary is accused of failing to put safeguards in place to check standards
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Wednesday 25 April 2012
Labour demanded urgent action to ensure proper oversight of Britain's growing number of academies yesterday as it emerged that the Government has issued warning notices to eight of the schools that they are under-performing.
Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, told MPs that his department has has sent "pre-warning" letters to the academies, stating that they must improve standards or face formal demands for action.
His disclosure, to the influential Commons select committee on education, came as he faced criticism for failing to put in adequate safeguards to check on the performance of academies – which are no longer subject to scrutiny by local authorities.
Mr Gove said one solution for under-performing academies was to replace a "weak" sponsor with one with a proven track record. He did not rule out a return to local authority control if the council concerned made a sufficiently robust case for improvements to the school.
Earlier, Graham Stuart, the Conservative chairman of the committee, claimed Mr Gove "didn't seem to have thought through" what needed to be done to detect failure in academies.
There had been reports, he added, of parents approaching the Young People's Learning Agency (now renamed the Education Funding Agency) – the quango with responsibilities for academies – and being told that complaints were not within its jurisdiction.
Mr Gove said he believed the body had been "very effective in dealing with problems with academies".
Stephen Twigg, Labour's education spokesman, retorted: "Michael Gove appears to be unaware that the body responsible for handling complaints about academies is not doing its job properly. This demonstrates that you can't run the secondary school system from Whitehall. With the majority of secondary schools en route to becoming academies, Michael Gove needs to address this urgently."
Labour, he added, is considering establishing new local structures to monitor schools' performance.
Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
Johnny Depp facing 10 years in jail for illegally bringing dogs to Australia
US warned by Chinese media to stop meddling or 'war will be inevitable'
Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
- 1 Chelsea victory parade mocked on Twitter as 'tens of fans' pack the streets of London
- 2 Preston fan who appeared to snatch Jermaine Beckford's shirt from eight-year-old boy identified and says: 'the truth will come out'
- 3 Johnny Depp facing 10 years in jail for illegally bringing dogs to Australia
- 4 US warned by Chinese media to stop meddling or 'war will be inevitable'
- 5 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
Reach Volunteering: Would you like to volunteer your expertise as Chair of Governors for Livability?
Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses are reimbursable: Reach Volunteering...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + substantial benefits: Ashdown Group: Finance Admin...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrat...