The key to opposing and stopping the forced academisation plans lay in cultivating and trading on the rebellion the Government was experiencing in its own ranks among back bench MPs and local Conservative Councillors. The recent Opposition debate in Parliament served a very useful purpose in exposing the extent of the Conservative back bench disaffection and the deep concern among them that the Government’s proposals undermined Conservative policy of localism and choice.
The Government’s attempts over the last few weeks to reach agreement to appease the back benchers and councillors through discussions, for example, on local authority MATs and agreement on place planning, clearly failed as, on Friday afternoon, as I hope you are all aware from the press release we issued and circulated, the Secretary of State announced the plans in the White Paper for the forced academisation of all schools by 2022 had been dropped.
Whilst this removes that particular aspect of academisation, you will of course be aware that all of the other issues relating to other forms of forced academisation, which have been in place since 2011, are still relevant and it is important, therefore, to continue to pursue our strategy to support members faced with academisation as outlined in the email below.
On 15 April 2016 I wrote to you copying you into a letter I had sent to the Secretary of State raising concerns about the rumours that academy orders would be being issued to schools which were deemed by Ofsted to require improvement. The Secretary of State has confirmed that there are no plans to change the current position on academy orders in relation to schools requiring improvement and the power to issue academy orders is not being extended to this Ofsted category.
The next key issue, which will no doubt cause significant concerns for schools, will be the next stage of the funding consultation which is expected shortly.
We are also anticipating the publication, in the next few days, of the School Teachers’ Review Body Report on the pay award for 2016-17.