THERE are now more than 2,300 academies across the country educating 1.7 million pupils, new Government figures reveal.
The Department for Education (DfE) said the level of autonomously run academies was more than ten times higher than when the coalition came to power two years ago.
Academies, which are run independently from local councils with funding direct from Government and greater freedoms over their budget, timetable, admissions policy and employment arrangements, were originally set up under the last Labour government as new schools backed by a sponsor to replace struggling secondaries.
The current Government has looked to extend these freedoms to more state schools with Education Secretary Michael Gove saying he wants them to become “the norm”.
The latest figures show that North East Lincolnshire has one of the highest levels of academies in the country, with nine in ten secondary schools in the district now academies – the joint fifth highest level nationally. A further 29 per cent of its 48 primaries are academies – the third highest figure in the country.
In Doncaster 76 per cent of secondaries are now academies placing it in the top 20 in the country while Calderdale is in the top ten nationally for primary academies with 17 per cent of its 84 schools having converted.
A statement from the DfE highlights, among others, the David Young Community Academy in Seacroft, Leeds which opened in 2006. It has been praised for operating a seven-term academic year which starts in June and finishes in May with a four week summer holiday.
More than half, 54 per cent, of secondary schools are either already academies or in the pipeline to become one.