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Amidst all the talk about what difficulties the Government is in little attention is being paid to a remarkable milestone. A majority of secondary schools are now academies or have applied to be so. There are 1,283 open secondary Academies, equating to 39% of all state secondary schools. A total of 50.3% of state secondary schools are either open or in the pipeline to become Academies. This is a total of 1,641 secondary schools out of 3,261.

With primary schools included there are 1,776 Academies now open. This represents around an eight-fold increase in the total number of Academies open since May 2010 when there were just 203 open Academies after 13 years of Labour Government. That means that over 1.45 million pupils now attend an Academy.

Since June 2010, 2,083 schools have applied to convert to become Academies. There are 464 open primary Academies, equating to 2.8% of all primary schools. A total of 5% of state primary schools are either open or in the pipeline to become Academies.

Nor is there much sign of the pace slackening. During March 2012, the Department received more than 140 applications to convert -– the biggest month for applications since May 2011.

Schools Minister Lord Hill said:

“In Academies, head teachers – not politicians or bureaucrats – are in charge of what happens in the school. I am delighted that the majority of secondary schools in England are seizing this independence by becoming an Academy.”

Some areas of the country have fully embraced Academy freedoms. Figures show that, in Darlington and Rutland, 100% of state funded secondary schools are Academies.

In six other local authorities, all schools are now Academies, or are in the pipeline. These local authorities are:

  • Bromley
  • Bexley
  • Swindon
  • Kingston upon Thames
  • Darlington
  • Rutland

Southwark, Medway and Cambridgeshire are also above 90%.

This month also saw the first three applications from Pupil Referral Units, who want to gain freedom and independence by becoming Alternative Provision Academies. The first sponsored special school Academy also opened this month.

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