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The rise and fall of academies?

The rise and fall of academies?

Walk into a school and some things will strike you right away. Is the atmosphere respectful and warm? How do children interact with their teachers? What sort of project work takes pride of place on the corridor walls?

One thing that you can’t immediately tell from wandering from classroom to classroom is whether the school is an academy, run by a not-for-profit organisation independent of the local council, or a “maintained” school under local council oversight. When things are going well, parents may barely notice the difference. But when things are going badly, it matters and that’s why the extraordinary growth of academy schools has become one of the most hotly contested developments in education policy.

Last week marked an important milestone in the English school system: more than half of pupils are being educated in academies. It has been an astonishingly rapid transformation: the Labour government left around 200 academy schools in 2010; today, there are more than 8,000.

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