Somerset

More Somerset schools set to become academies

Three quarters of Somerset's secondary schools are set to be academies by the start of the school year.

Twenty one of 28 secondary schools in the county have applied to become, or are already, independent from the local authority.

Four are already academies and a further 17 are hoping to convert by September.

Being an academy gives schools direct control of its budget as well as its curriculum, staffing and lesson times.

It means they answer to the government, rather than the local authority.

It is one of the government's flagship policies, but there has been some concern shared services like truancy officers and special needs provision could be affected for the schools that don't become academies.

'Drive up standards'

Last month, the head teacher of the Blue School in Wells told BBC Somerset that because of education spending cuts it had come to a point where they could not afford not to be an academy.

And a former governor at another Somerset school said schools that become academies before September would get £400-per-pupil rather than the current £200.

The Department of Education said academies give parents and teachers the chance to initiate the creation of a new school if they are unhappy with state schools in a local area, and that competition would drive up standards.

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