The Prime Minister will begin to implement his manifesto pledge, made at the Tory party conference last autumn, to transform thousands of schools in England into academies. Academies operate outside of local authority control and get money directly from the central government.
The Department for Education is expected to publish the draft legislation soon, ending the century-old role of local authorities as providers of education.
David Cameron’s ‘new vision’ is based upon the stated desire of “putting power into the hands of headteachers and teachers rather than bureaucrats”, and whether they like it or not, huge swathes of power will fall into their hands. This includes setting term times, and giving principles full liberty to decide how to teach important subjects.
The government argues that freedom from bureaucratic control will bring opportunities for innovation, better leadership, and higher attainment, while others question whether greater independence will raise the potential for abuse and lapses in standards.
Mr Cameron has accused local authorities of not taking action on failing schools in the past and promised that “failing schools will get taken over by academies”. This suggests that underperforming schools will be compelled to become academies.