Standards blitz sees 1,000 under-performing primary schools facing closure or conversion into academies

 

Up to 1,000 under-performing primary schools face closure or conversion into academies under a dramatic new government blitz aimed at raising standards in schools.

Education Secretary Michael Gove announced today he would be writing to all MPs representing constituencies with large numbers of schools failing to reach the Government’s minimum target of 60 per cent of pupils being fluent in English and maths by 11.

He told a seminar organised by the think-tank Politeia that 310 of the country’s worst performing primary schools had already become academies with new sponsors - but the Government had to move “further” and “faster” on its reforms.

However, he added: “There are hundreds more under-performing primary schools - many concentrated in other disadvantaged communities where we need to act.

“Children in those schools are not receiving the education they deserve. And today I want to invite the MPs in those communities to work with me to open up the education system in their areas to the new providers who can raise standards.”

Last year’s primary school league tables showed there were 1,310 schools who had failed to meet the minimum target - of which around 1,000 have not been linked to new academy sponsors.  The new drive is expected to usher in the biggest expansion yet of the academies programme in the primary sector.

Mr Gove said he had singled out schools in Derby and Leicester for an initial drive, adding: “In a number of communities the local forces of conservatism have worked against reform and have thrown every possible obstacle in the path of potential academy sponsors and free school founders trying to make a difference.” In Leicester, eight schools are below the minimum target while in Derby the figure is 13.

Ministers had faced “fierce opposition” - particularly in Haringey where parents at one primary school, Downhills, opposed moves to force it to become an academy,  “An alliance including ther National Union of Teachers, other local unions, the Labour MP, the Socialist Workers Party and the SWP’s best-known supporter Michael Rosen united to defend the right of children to be badly educated under council control”,” said Mr Gove.

On Derby and Leicester, he added: “In both of these areas, standards are too low, with too many primaries which are judged by Ofsted (the education standards watchdog) to be unsatisfactory or which have performed below national expectations for many years.”

Test results in the regions were “far lower than pupils and parents have a right to expect”.

Mr Gove said he was shifting the focus of the academies programme towards primary schools because many secondary schools were “impeded by the quality of the education offered in primary schools”.

He acknowledged that some parents were “actively harming” their children’s future through the way they were being brought up.

Labour MP for Nottingham North Graham Allen said schools in his constituency were seeing children arriving for primary school “unable to read or recognise the difference between a letter or a number, they arrive sometimes in nappies, unable to speak a sentence”.

“As you probably can tell, I think it’s important that we exercise a degree of restraint when we think about state intervention,” said Mr Gove, “but I think we can both agree that there are a group of children for whom the state has to intervene because they will grow up in circumstances so chaotic that it’s not just the case that they are neglected, it is the case that they are actively harmed by the failure to be in a nurturing environment where their brain can develop.”

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
football Polish side was ejected from Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
news
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Nursery Room Leader

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: JOB DESCRIPTION - NURSERY ROOM LEADER...

Nursery Room Leader

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: JOB DESCRIPTION - NURSERY ROOM LEADER...

Foundation Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Early Years and Foundation stage Prim...

Primary Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: ***KS1 & KS2 Teachers needed for ...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone