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Schools will be ‘better as academies’
11:00am Wednesday 18th July 2012 in Education
SMALL rural schools will be best protected if they group together as academies , according to an education chief.
Oxfordshire County Council cabinet member for education Melinda Tilley made the claim as the executive voted to support the government’s wishes that every school gains academy status.
She said: “The best way to protect small rural primary schools is to make sure they’re in collaborative trusts with others in their areas.
“Looking after small primary schools is one of my things, and we need to make sure we don’t close any, because they are absolutely invaluable.”
She also underlined the authority’s commitment to schools which did not want to become academies.
She said: “Any school which does not want to convert, we will support.
“This isn’t our decision, it’s up to headteachers and governors – we can’t force them.”
The council has earmarked £600,000 of reserves to support the transition of schools to academy status, but has been accused of playing politics by campaigners.
Bridget Henderson, from Oxford Against Academies, said: “They are putting £600,000 behind their academies strategy, and this is at a time when the county is cutting services.
“There is no evidence that academies improve education. This is just about politics.”
Academies are free from local authority control, and are often sponsored by private companies, but still receive money from central Government.
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