Stephen Twigg, Labour’s shadow education secretary, has challenged the government to make “sustainable” improvements to schools that go beyond the new academy drive announced today.
The original focus of Labour’s academy programme was on under-performing schools – but unlike this Government, we worked with schools to ensure improvements were sustainable.
Changing the type of school is not enough – we need a programme to raise the quality of teaching and school leadership, which is what makes the most difference. But under this Government, we’ve seen 10,000 teachers leave the profession.
We also need a One Nation education plan – getting strong schools to support weaker schools, so that no school is left behind. That can be achieved in many ways, including through federations, clusters of schools and co-operative trusts – academies are not the only answer.
Prime minister David Cameron hosted a meeting of the Cabinet at an academy school in Bristol today.
The meeting at John Cabot Academy - described by Downing Street as one of England’s leading academies - came on the day Cameron announced plans to turn the UK's 400 weakest primary schools into academies.
Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, has described the move as ‘irresponsible’.
There are now 2,456 academies, and further 823 in the pipeline. Of the new academies, 333 were formerly failing primary or secondary schools.
The driving mission for this Government is to build an aspiration nation, where we unlock and unleash the promise in all our people. A first-class education system is absolutely central to that vision.
We have seen some excellent progress with our reforms, including turning 200 of the worst performing primary schools into sponsored academies, and opening more academies in the last two years than the previous Government opened in a decade.
Time and time again we have seen how academies, with their freedom to innovate, inspire and raise standards are fuelling aspirations and helping to spread success.
So now we want to go further, faster, with 400 more under-performing primary schools paired up with a sponsor and either open or well on their way to becoming an academy by the end of next year.
It is simply not good enough that some children are left to struggle in failing schools, when they could be given the chance to shine.
David Cameron will announce plans to improve the UK's 400 weakest primary schools by turning them into academies.
Mr Cameron said that by the end of next year he wants them to be paired up with sponsors to turn them into academies as part of his Government's efforts to improve education in the poorest performing schools.
The announcement comes as the Cabinet prepares to meet today at an academy for a special meeting.