Turning around failing academies

It’s hard to think of anything more important to our children and young people right now than the opportunity to flourish in a good school. 

Failing schools are a problem not only for the pupils, but also for their families, their hard-working teachers and their communities. Young people need excellent schools to forge a positive future in the world. 

We can all agree on that, but the question is how? How can we quickly turn around failing academies? I say we need to be able to return failing academies to local authority control, yet the Government is blocking this. Why can a failing academy not be returned to the local authority? Why is there no mechanism for this to happen?

It’s a one-way street, where a failing local authority school has to become an academy, but if an academy fails then it is simply replaced by yet another academy. Too often that has led to more failure, the process is slow and cumbersome, and precious time and trust are lost.

In Milton Keynes, we are demanding our largest academy, Stantonbury International School, is returned to the control of the local authority, but we have been told there is no mechanism. 

We have to put political dogma aside. Our children and young people deserve better from us, and the local authority should be allowed to step in and take control. These are our children and we do not want to keep letting them down.

The pandemic has seen local authorities forge a new role with all their local schools, working together to keep everyone safe, and to continue to support all schools and enable them to share the very best of practice. 

My challenge to the Government is that we should be allowed to take a school that is letting everyone in our city down back into local authority control. 

When things go wrong and schools fail, we want to be able to say to those young people that we did everything possible, including challenging political nonsense, to quickly get their future back on track. 

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