400 more primary academies

The Government will improve the UK's 400 weakest primary schools by turning them into academies, Prime Minister David Cameron said today.

Cameron 'would like his children to go to state school'

David Cameron has talked up the "exciting" changes in the state school system and said he wanted his own children to benefit from the "massive innovations".

The Prime Minister today launched an initiative to turn the UK's 400 weakest primary schools into academies.

Speaking at a PM Direct event, he said:

I would like them [my children] to go to state schools, that's my intention, and I think what's happening in the state school system is really exciting.

Instead of having a set of comprehensive schools we've introduced an element of choice and competition which is leading to massive innovation. As well as academies we've also introduced free schools.

So what we're seeing in the state sector is something that we should have seen years ago which is the flowering of more choice, more competition, more diversity and crucially higher standards.

I want my children to be part of that and I'm very heartened by what is happening.

Labour: Introducing new academies is 'not enough'

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.

He said:

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.

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Cabinet meeting drives Cameron's academy push

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.

Cabinet meeting in Bristol
David Cameron hosts a Cabinet meeting in Bristol. Credit: Twitter / @Number10gov

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.

NUT: Academy school drive is 'irresponsible'

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), has described the move to turn 400 primary schools into academies as ‘irresponsible’.

She said:

There is no evidence to show that academy status in primary schools will bring any educational benefits.

Despite this the coalition government is pressing ahead regardless, removing schools from their local authority and handing them over to unelected sponsors.

It is quite extraordinary that at a time of such huge spending cuts the Prime Minister is announcing that he is happy to spend £10 million to find sponsors for this project.

This is such irresponsible and rash behaviour from a coalition whose motivation appears ever clearer to be the privatisation of our education system.

Cameron: 'We need to go further and faster with primary school reform'

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

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Cameron to turn 400 failing primary schools into academies

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.