Councils step up to sponsor academies

More local authorities are signing up to sponsor the government’s controversial city academies.

Kent is to co-sponsor three academies, while Bolton, Northumberland and Kensington and Chelsea are to co-sponsor one each.

The City of London is the only other local authority to have sponsored an academy so far (Debate intensifies over future of schools as bill progresses, 9 March).

The prime minister announced last week that 73 new academies were in the pipeline to join the 27 already up and running. The government’s target is 200 by 2010.

Private companies and church groups are also heavily represented among the sponsors.

John Simmonds, Kent Council’s cabinet member for education and school improvement, said the academies’ specialisms and admissions policies had not been decided but insisted they would be “local schools for local children”.

It has also emerged that the City Technology College in Solihull, an academy due to open next year, is to become the first state boarding school for 40 years. It will provide accommodation for 100 boarders. In its election manifesto, Labour pledged to create more boarding school places to help disadvantaged children.

The news came after the government had to rely on support from the Conservatives to get its Education and Inspections Bill through its second reading last Wednesday.


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