1. ITV Report

Schools switch to Academies

There's been a big increase in the number of the region's schools converting to Academies. The latest figures show there are now more than ten times as many as there were two years ago.

The figures reveal that with a further 282 Academies opening across the country this month, there'll be a total of 2,309. That compares with just 203 in May 2 years ago.

Now, the idea behind academy status was to allow schools to operate outside of local authority control. They are funded directly by central government and have more freedom than other state schools over their finances, the curriculum and teachers' pay and conditions.

In our region, almost two thirds of secondary schools in Kent are now academies, compared to just over a third in Hampshire. But primary schools are not taking up the new initiative with just 8 per cent of schools in Kent making the change and just one per cent in Hampshire.

Opinion remains split on the issue, but clearly more and more schools are opting to become Academies.