July 22, 2022 7.00 pm

Academy takeovers could leave Lincolnshire schools behind

Every school must be an academy by 2030

By Local Democracy Reporter

Government ambitions for every school to become an academy have been labelled “deeply concerning”.

Councillors have worries that small Lincolnshire schools would be left behind if a large trust doesn’t want to take them on.

A government white paper has set a 2030 deadline for schools to join an academy trust.

However, Lincolnshire County Council’s Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee heard that the “one size fits all plan” might cause problems in rural areas.

Councillor Colin Matthews said: “Academisation was a great idea and has improved a large number of schools within Lincolnshire who stepped out to be a self-contained academy.

“Every school should be very good, but I don’t see academisation for every school bringing that about.

“Those that would have thrived have already thrived. Those left in our remit don’t have the momentum and the capacity to stand on their own.

Would Lincolnshire schools benefit from being academies? | Photo: Adobe Stock

“I was a good idea, but now we should be looking at the local authority taking back schools which can’t manage without that support.

“I can’t see MATs (multi-academy trusts) taking on schools which need so much professional support.”

Councillor Tom Smith said a local school governor was “deeply concerned” by the move.

He added: “It may not be popular in certain parts of government that grammar schools are still here, but they do offer a leg up to those in them.

“I hope my worries are unfounded, but I have a horrible feeling they’re not.”

There were concerns from Councillor Robert Kendrick that it amounted to a “one size sits all plan”.

Councillor Patricia Bradwell OBE agreed, saying: “Small rural schools have bigger expenses but don’t have extra money to spend.

“We have always loved and wrapped arms around them – we know how much they’re valued by residents. It’s a bit of a worry what happens to them under academisation.

“People who work and live in urban areas don’t realise what it’s like for schools in rural counties.”

Councils would also be allowed to set up their own academy trusts which would be independently run under the government plans.

However, Lincolnshire County Council won’t be expressing an interest in this.