Academy school policy 'taking too much teachers' time'

Geoff Driver
Image caption Geoff Driver has asked to meet Education Secretary Michael Gove

Attempts to cajole primary schools in Lancashire to accept academy status could adversely affect children's education, the leader of Lancashire County Council has said.

Geoff Driver said the government was applying undue pressure.

He has written to Education Secretary Michael Gove describing the situation as "unacceptable".

The Department for Education (DfE) said it "cannot just stand by if a school is failing children".

Mr Driver said: "Things are developing in a way that none of us want and I really hope that Mr Gove will arrange a meeting where we can get together and discuss the best way forward.

'Not popular'

"For some time I've been concerned that this could be having an adverse impact on the education of the children of Lancashire.

"It's taking too much time of the managers of the schools."

Tony Roberts, secretary of the Lancashire branch of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), said: "We have no problem with a school that chooses to become an academy, but it's not a popular route.

"We will continue to support schools to resist this."

A DfE spokesperson said: "Ministers are clear that the best way to turn round under-performing schools is with the strong external challenge and support from academy sponsors.

"Academies have already turned around hundreds of struggling schools across the country.

"If we think that a struggling school would benefit from the support of an academy sponsor, we always hold a full consultation with the local community.

"Ministers carefully consider the consultation report and any other representations before making a final decision."

There are 480 primary schools in Lancashire, of which four are academies.

Government officials have offered primary schools up to £40,000 plus £25,000 to cover legal fees to change to academies.

Grants have been available since 2010 for schools becoming academies.

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