Failing academies face rapid action and potential take overs

The BBC is reporting that struggling academies could face rapid intervention and being taken over by another academy chain, in new powers proposed by the education secretary.

Nicky Morgan has announced that legislation will be extended to address failing and “coasting” academies as well as local authority schools.

Mrs Morgan said underperforming academies should be “held to account”.

Heads’ leader Brian Lightman says underperformance needs to be tackled, regardless of the type of school.

The ATL teachers’ union said “the government seems to be finally waking up to the fact that some academies underperform”.

Most secondary schools in England are now academies – and in his autumn statement, the chancellor George Osborne spoke of the government’s aim to “make local authorities running schools a thing of the past”.

While the response to underachieving local authority schools has been to turn them into academies, there have been questions about the action taken when academies are underperforming.

The proposals announced by Mrs Morgan are an amendment to the Education and Adoption Bill, currently before Parliament.

The changes will mean that the new, tougher measures to raise standards in “coasting” schools will apply to all types of school, whether local authority, academy or free school.

The previous form of the proposed legislation did not apply to academies, but Mrs Morgan put forward an amendment to allow “robust action” for all types of school.

“Underperformance is unacceptable wherever it occurs – whether that is in a maintained school or an academy,” said the education secretary’s written ministerial statement…

Read more at Failing academies face rapid action


Do you welcome these new proposals from Nicky Morgan with the option for failing and “coasting” academies to be taken over by other chains?

Please give us your reactions in the comments or via Twitter… 


Should failing and 'coasting' academies be subject to take over?

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Categories: Academies and Policy.


  1. When academies change hands it costs taxpayers money.  The DfE won’t say how much and the ICO upheld their decision to withhold this info in my FoI request.  But I’ve appealed to the First Tier Tribunal and will post the decision on Local Schools Network when it is decided.  For details so far see

  2. It appears stand-alone academies will be forced to join MATs in the same way that some schools were forced to convert.   The days of stand-alone academies appear to be numbered – if they’re defined as ‘coasting’ they’ll be scooped up by a MAT and their autonomy will likely end as they become subject to control by MAT central office.

    And as related party transactions continue, that should mean more public money going to companies related to academy trustees.

  3. The NAO found informal intervention such as local support was more effective than formal interventions such as academy conversions.
    Handing over academies to a chain (or another chain) won’t necessarily tackle the underlying problems.  And wasn’t academy conversion especially with a sponsor supposed to solve these in the first place?

  4. Julie_Cordiner

    Very pleased to see sense has prevailed and that consistency will be achieved – underperformance must be tackled in academies just as for LA schools. About time we thought about the pupils instead of obsessing about school status. I wonder if the timescale for improvement will be the same before intervention occurs?
    However, questions have already been asked about the capacity of some chains to take on more schools. And how much would they be paid to do it? We might end up with a decreasing pool of sponsors and end up in a monopoly situation.
    Why not look to the LAs that have a track record of turning round underperforming schools to take them on? Now that would be a radical move…

  5. Julie_Cordiner ‘Underperformance’ isn’t always caused by poor teaching – there are factors (eg intake skewed to bottom end; teacher and/or pupil churn) which cause poor results.  And schools judged Good can still underperform.  If schools are judged on results alone, why bother with Ofsted?
    That said, see my comments re informal v form intervention; cost to taxpayer and forcing stand-alone academies to join MATs.  As you say, we might end up with monopolies.  That’s already happened in Pimlico where three of four primaries are run on the same lines by Future Academies.  Not much choice there.

  6. Julie_Cordiner

    Thanks Janet. Puzzled by your first comment though – I didn’t say underperformance was always caused by poor teaching or that it was only about results. My AD experience was in highly deprived areas and we always checked performance in terms of progress as well as absolute attainment. But teaching has to be a big part of the problem, along with leadership of course.
    Ofsted do recognise progress (although perhaps not always consistently), hence we had schools whose pupils had shockingly low language skills etc on entry, but they did so well for those children that they were rated good and outstanding despite being relatively low in league tables. Also reference change to below floor definition which provided some hope. Sadly public naming and shaming often relates to pure results without taking context into account. Won’t go into life without levels!

  7. Julie_Cordiner Always difficult in a short comment to be precise.   Politicians constantly define a school’s underperformance as being below the mandatory benchmark or below average in terms of results.  That’s what I was referring to not the formative process of checking whether pupils might be underperforming and then addressing this.

  8. Nairb1

    I won’t mock. It might not be British Gas but we are on the road to a relatively small number of big businesses running MATs for profit and controlling everything from the purchase of pencils to which PowerPoint the unqualified teacher should be reading out to the Y2 pupils before they get down to their sixth worksheet (centrally produced and part of the approved materials … only £900 per pupil per term) of the day.

  9. Julie_Cordiner

    Ah I see – yes, we are on the same page there. I had misinterpreted it because you’d done it as a reply to me – sorry for being dim!

  10. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Levelling playing field for all schools is welcomed but insistence on academy status being golden bullet is beyond parody

  11. kazjohnson

    DenrooneyDenise SchoolsImprove ah, that’s the way now. Nothing to do with reality, just endless Gove stamping a jackboot on a human face

  12. LynsGP

    SchoolsImprove wonder also what will happen to church academy trust schools where there’ve been the only trust allowed to takeover

Let us know what you think...