The Local Government Association (LGA) has reasoned that many local authority schools are flourishing and therefore such high performing schools in England should be allowed
to sponsor struggling schools, without first becoming an academy.
As it stands, all ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ schools have the freedom to convert to academy status either as stand-alone converters or as part of a multi-academy
trust, and in doing so must select a school to support and share their expertise with.
Currently 80% of council-run schools have been rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by schools’ watchdog Ofsted. The LGA is now backing an amendment to the Education
and Adoption Bill which would allow council-run schools and local authorities to sponsor academies.
"When putting in place support for a school to improve outcomes for children, the focus should be on the quality and capability of a sponsor, whether that
is a sponsor academy, a high-performing maintained school, or a local authority” – Roy Perry, chairman of LGA.
Bill Watkin, director of Schools, Students and Teachers Network has said, however, that
there would be problems with the LGA’s plan: "A school wanting to sponsor an academy would have to set up a trust first – a company limited by guarantee – and that trust would be the sponsor. An academy wanting to do so would already have set up a trust in
order to become an academy."
The National Union of Teachers urged the government and the House of Lords to accept the proposal. The bill will be considered at the House of Lords committee
stage next week.