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.
Pope Francis: Being an atheist is alright as long as you do good
That's some guestlist! Stunning images show huge dynastic wedding between Ultra-Orthodox Jewish families which attracted 25,000 guests
Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
Exclusive: Suspect was inspired by cleric banned from UK after urging followers to behead enemies of Islam
- 1 Pope Francis: Being an atheist is alright as long as you do good
- 2 Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
- 3 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 4 Archaeologists uncover nearly 5,000 cave paintings in Burgos, Mexico
- 5 Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.