Teachers' devastating verdict on George Osborne's academies plan

The profession thinks 'academisation' will make standards worse, by a margin of three to one

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The Independent Online

Teachers overwhelmingly think that the Government's plans to turn schools into academies will make educational standards worse rather than better, a poll has revealed.

The teaching profession opposes proposals to turn more state schools into academies, outside of local authority control, by a margin of nearly three to one, survey figures show.

Chancellor George Osborne on Wednesday unveiled a £1.5bn blueprint to make every school an academy by the next election in 2020, or to have a plan to convert by 2022 in place.

The Government argues that academies drive up standards by encouraging schools to innovate.


However, the survey of 8,259 teachers and professors found that less than a fifth of teachers, 17 per cent, agreed. Nearly half, 48 per cent, thought academies made standards worse, while 28 per cent said they made no difference.

Women teachers are more likely to oppose academisation than men, while younger teachers are more likely to support it, with 28 per cent of 18-24 year old teachers in favour.

Meanwhile, support for turning schools into academies among wider the public has softened since the coalition government was elected in 2010.

The public is fairly evenly divided on whether academies make standards better - with 28 per cent agreeing and 31 per cent disagreeing - they have become gradually less likely to say that existing schools should become academies, YouGov found.

Soon after the Conservatives first began encouraging existing schools to convert into academies, in 2011, 40 per cent were in support while 32 per cent were opposed. 

Support fell to 33 per cent in 2013, 30 per cent in 2014 and 25 per cent currently, while opposition has remained at 39 per cent and more have become unsure.

Education secretary Nicky Morgan fleshed out the academies plan on Thursday, when she published the Government's education white paper.

Teacher training qualifications will take into account performance inside the classroom, while heads will now be given longer - 30 months - to turn round "failing" schools to attract more "great leaders" to enter the profession.