Schools will not be ‘forced’ to become academies

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NO school in Luton will be ‘forced’ to become an academy, Luton Borough Council has said.

A report that went before the council’s overview and scrutiny committee last week stated that the government’s Department for Education was talking to council officers about three schools being forced to convert into academies with a sponsor.

One of these is Stopsley Primary School, where an interim executive board has just been appointed after Ofsted inspectors recommended the school go into special measures.

A spokesman for the council said: “No school in Luton is being forced by the Department for Education to become an academy.

“Officials from the department have met with officers of the council to discuss a range of matters including schools working as federations or within academy trusts.

“The Secretary of State has approved the appointment of an interim executive board at Stopsley Primary School and this board is obligated to consider an academy solution within the next three months.

“Two other schools will be discussed with DfE officials in due course.”

So far five high schools in Luton have academy status, Barnfield South and West, and Challney Boys, Denbigh and Icknield, with the latter three each converting into its own academy trust.

Putteridge High School will convert into a Barnfield academy this September, and Whipperley Infant School has announced it wants to become an academy.

Becoming an academy means a school is no longer tied to a local education authority.

In the case of Putteridge High School it also means the school can shed its “significant” debt.

The report said the debt would transfer to Luton Borough Council, which would have to claim the money back from the government.