The critics claim they're creating a two tier system in our children's education. The Government maintains they're driving up standards.
Meridian can reveal that there are now ten times more academies than two years ago. All of which have control of their own finances and curriculum.
Across the South East hundreds of secondary schools have switched. Medway has the highest number, 15 out of 18 are now academies, that's 83 per cent.
In Kent, the country's largest education authority, the figure is 61 per cent. In neighbouring Sussex, the number is lower just over 20 per cent in Brighton.
John Ryall reports
John Ryall spoke to former pupil Jacqui Nicholls and Principal Phil Karnavas. He also spoke to pupils Elli Kingsford, Philip Parrett and Ells Coumbe. Alisdair Smith from the Anti-Academies Alliance contributed to this piece.
More top news
Did Father Christmas bring you an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone for you to fly last night?
Lemurs and Emperor Tamarins at Cotswold Wildlife Park have been joining in the festive spirit.
Lucy has the Christmas Eve forecast for the east of the Meridian region.