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Schools in England will not all be forced to become academies as government does a U-turn

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan Credit: PA

Not all state schools in England will be forced to become academies, the government has confirmed in a major U-turn.

The Department for Education (DfE) has conceded it is "not necessary to bring legislation to bring about blanket conversion of all schools to achieve this goal".

The plan to convert all schools - including high performing ones - to academies was met with protests from teachers.

In the Government's U-turn on the policy, it is now understood that good and outstanding rated schools will be given the choice whether to take on academy status.

The DfE said it has "listened to feedback from MPs, teachers, school leaders and parents".

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK said: “This is another humiliating failure for the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

“Teachers, school leaders and schools have been subjected to an unnecessary period of anxiety and panic as a result of his ill-conceived and politically motivated statement, which did not even command the support of the Tory rank and file, particularly in local councils, and caused rebellion in his own ranks.

“It is disgraceful that teachers and school leaders, already under enormous pressure and stress, were ever subjected to this."

Video report by ITV News' Carl Dinnen

He added that the union would still be challenging the government over "forced academisation" for schools as "the answer to raising standards".

Making every school an academy is the best way to ensure every child, regardless of birth or background, has access to a world-class education.

I am today reaffirming our determination to see all schools to become academies. However having listened to the feedback from Parliamentary colleagues and the education sector we will now change the path to reaching that goal.

By focusing our efforts on those schools most at risk of failing young people, and encouraging good and outstanding schools to seize the opportunities of conversion, we will ensure the continued growth of the academy programme, empowering frontline heads and school leads and transforming even more children’s education.

– Nicky Morgan, education secretary