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News - 6 February 2014

Lib Dems say that Ofsted should inspect academy chains

Lib Dem minister David Laws has said that Ofsted should be given new powers to inspect groups of academy schools run by the same organisation. He is also in dispute with Education Secretary Michael Gove on the decision not to re-appoint Labour peer Lady Morgan to the chair of Ofsted.

Mr Gove's preferred candidate for the role is thought to be Theodore Agnew, the head of The Inspiration Trust - which runs a group of academy schools in Norfolk - and a Conservative donor.

Tonmoy Kumar, Manager of the Accounts Department of ABDS and an active school governor comments:
“Academies are state-funded and non-fee charging, but have greater autonomy, such as not having to follow the national curriculum. They were launched in 2002, but have grown rapidly in recent years under the coalition.  Among England's state sector secondary schools, 56% are now academies. Of these, about 48% - approximately 1,750 in total - are now part of groups of two or more.”

Ofsted can inspect local authorities, which supervise other state-funded schools, and also inspect all individual academies. But at present it does not inspect so-called chain organisations that control multiple academies.

Mr Laws said: "Ofsted must be able to shine a spotlight wherever it wants to. I don't want there are to be any constraints. It ought to be able to inspect the chains."

If you need any help and advice with Free Schools, Academy Schools or Charities, contact Lavinia Newman or Peter Ham now to discuss how ABDS can help bring their experience to these matters.

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