Ofsted chief wants councils to identify bad academies

Ofsted’s chief inspector Sir Michael Wishaw has risked a clash with Michael Gove after suggesting that local authorities should be able to meddle with the Education Secretary’s academies programme. This is from the Telegraph…

“They have a powerful part to play in local authority schools, those schools they control, and those outside their direct control,” Sir Michael said.

“They identify underperformance in academies. They should be writing to the chair of governors and the sponsor of that academy and contacting the academy division at the department.”

Sir Michael also disclosed that he is talks with Mr Gove to ensure that Ofsted is allowed to inspect academy chains, groups of the schools run by a single sponsor.

“We will be inspecting local authorities and we should be inspecting academy chains as well if we identify underperformance. I’ve made that clear to [Michael Gove].

“I think it’s only fair and equitable that we do that. We haven’t got the same powers at the moment but I look forward to receiving those powers to do that. It’s an ongoing discussion I’m having with the department.”

Asked whether the Department for Education has “accepted” that Ofsted needs new powers, Sir Michael replied: “I think so. But even without those sort of formal powers I think we could do quite a lot.

“After all academy chains…I was going to say skim off the top but I’m not going to use that phrase, but they take money from the schools within the chain to subsidise their central services.”

Sir Michael also used his appearance before the select committee to call for more incentives to be given to head teachers to move to poorer areas.

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