School academy plan ‘doomed to fail’, warns Blunkett

The Observer is reporting that former education secretary David Blunkett has warned that government plans to turn all schools into academies by 2022 are doomed to fail and could turn into a fiasco.

Writing in the Observer, Blunkett, who was the first to develop plans for academy schools under the Labour government in 2000, accuses Tory ministers of seeking “permanent revolution” instead of organic change, in a way that could discredit the entire academies programme…

Blunkett argues, however, that the original role of academies, which was to improve underperforming schools and raise standards by allowing those running them to have greater autonomy and to draw on expertise and best practice from outside, has been usurped by a Tory ideological obsession with removing all of them from any local authority control.

He says that many state schools are already judged good or outstanding by Ofsted and that a policy of forcing them to become academies, against the wishes of teachers and parents, would mean a costly, top-down reform process to address problems that don’t exist, reminiscent of the health reforms of the last parliament.

“It is mystifying why so many primary schools, already judged good and outstanding, will be forced to conform to new structures, at huge cost, when money is so scarce,” he argues.

“In high-performing localities, we appear to be confronting problems that don’t exist, rather than concentrating on using flexibility and autonomy as weapons to tackle underperformance where standards have to be raised – the original objective of academies.

“It must be that someone, somewhere, thinks that ideological fervour and further expensive structural change is a substitute for improving what happens in the classroom, and that it will be supported by parents. Parents who are, we also heard last week, to be excluded from school governing bodies in a system run entirely from the centre by politicians. What kind of autonomy is this?”…

More at: School academy plan ‘doomed to fail’, warns Blunkett


Read David Blunkett’s article in full from the Observer at: Making all schools academies imperils children’s life chances


A very interesting point here from David Blunkett on the difference between having academy conversion available as an option when needed and just being made the default choice for all.

What do you think of his comments and warnings?

Please share in the comments or via Twitter…

Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or  just someone who cares about education and has something to get off  your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.

Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.

We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!


Teachers to call for ballot on boycotting baseline tests for four-year-olds
Apprenticeships 'failing young people', says commission
Categories: Academies, Policy, Primary and Secondary.


  1. But, Mr Blunkett, it was your original idea which was flawed. There never was any evidence that your academy program would do better than leaving the school with the local authority. There still isn’t.
    The main problem is that Secretaries of State like you and more recent ones continuously come up with changes to the education system based on things which sound good and are visible.

  2. Mike Bell Deception about academies has been going on since they first began.  Labour planted the seeds.  Now they’re appalled at the harvest.  Too late.

  3. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Cost & DfE’s ability to cope with admin that removing LAs will produce is the issue; DfE can’t cope with current demand

  4. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove This whole “every school must be an academy” thing smacks of the “everyone must be above average” chestnut again. Idiotic

  5. ajjolley

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove can’t help thinking there are too many un-thought through complications & costs for it to be implemented

  6. ajjolley

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove can’t help thinking there are too many un-thought through complications & costs for it to be implemented

Let us know what you think...