53,000 pupils in limbo after rise in ‘zombie’ academy schools

Rising numbers of pupils in England are being taught in state schools that have been left to drift for months or even years without established management, according to figures obtained by Labour. The Guardian reports.

It estimated that more than 50,000 pupils are currently attending academies in England that have been unable to join a multi-academy trust or find a sponsor, leading the opposition to claim that the government’s flagship schools improvement policy is in tatters.

Labour said the figures it had obtained – via a parliamentary question from the shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner – showed that 93 schools with an estimated 53,000 pupils were waiting to join a new trust, having either been abandoned by or taken away from their previous sponsor.

Passing an academy from one chain to another is known as “rebrokering” in the DfE’s terminology, triggered in some cases by trusts voluntarily giving up schools because of financial or management difficulties, and in others by having schools removed by the DfE, often because of failure to improve a struggling school.

For the first time, the group of unwanted academies includes two special schools and one provider of alternative provision, which educates pupils who have been excluded or are otherwise struggling at mainstream schools. The remainder include 42 secondary academies and 48 primary academies across England.

“Despite leaving almost 100 schools in limbo the government are taking no direct action to ensure that schools are rebrokered quickly and effectively to ensure that schools and pupils get the support they need,” Rayner said. “The next Labour government will address this, allowing academies to return to their local authority as part of the rebrokering process.”

Read the full article 53,000 pupils in limbo after rise in ‘zombie’ academy schools

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