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Academies in Suffolk could remain under county council control

Academies in Suffolk could remain under county council control

Academies in Suffolk could remain under county council control

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Schools which could be forced to become academies under Government proposals could remain under Endeavour House control, it emerged last night.

Suffolk County Council is considering setting up its own multi-academy trust in response to the Government’s vision for all schools to become academies.

Bosses at the authority have insisted it is still “very early days” for the proposal, but have confirmed it is an option being considered.

In a letter to headteachers, corporate director for children and adults at the council, Sue Cook, outlined “firm proposals” for a “local authority-initiated” multi-academy trust.

A spokesman for the authority said: “Following the publication of the White Paper ‘Educational Excellence Everywhere’, and the plans for all schools to become academies, a number of local authorities are exploring the possibilities of setting up multi academy trusts in their areas.

“It is very early days and we are looking to work in collaboration with schools to develop firm proposals for a local authority multi-academy trust, in partnership with headteachers from across Suffolk.”

In her letter, Ms Cook refers to the White Paper, where education secretary Nicky Morgan vows to “finish the job” of turning schools into academies.

“I am acutely aware that many schools are already exploring options for academy conversion through the development of local multi-academy trusts, or by joining regional or national organisations”, Ms Cook writes in the letter.

“I need to be clear that our proposals are not intended to be in competition with these developments, or with existing academy providers.

“We have some excellent academies and sponsors in the county, who like many of our maintained schools, are making a direct impact on raising standards and improving children’s life chances.

“I do, though, want headteachers and governors to have a good range of options from which to choose and like other local authorities, we believe there is a place for this type of multi-academy trust development.”

Her remarks follow speculation that ministers may try to stop a rebellion by paving the way for councils to set up their own multi-academy trusts.

But Suffolk NUT secretary Graham White warned: “Any type of academy is best avoided. They don’t boost morale and don’t raise standards.

“In all honesty, we’d rather have a multi-academy trust than an academy – but we’d ultimately rather not have any academies at all. The plans still concern me – the only way these types of trusts can be successful is if the trust follows a particular successful school.”

What do you think of the plans? Email newsroom@archant.co.uk with your thoughts.

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