In August I noted that the number of academies had passed a thousand. Under Labour there were only a couple of hundred. It is 1,144. I wonder when we will get to 2,000. The momentum shows every sign of being maintained. Last month alone another 83 schools applied to become academies. There are now 1,683 that have applied to become are academies, have had their application approved or have actually become academies.

Among the new applications is Heston Community School. It is seeking to escape the dead hand of Labour-run Hounslow Council. It wants less of the money meant for the education of its pupils siphoned off to pay for bureaucracy.

The school says:

As an Academy, Heston Community School would receive its full share of taxpayer funding without any money being held back by the Local Authority (as is currently the case). This will mean further resources can be used to benefit teaching and learning as well as enabling us to continue support for our partner schools including primaries.

Estimates carried out by independent external consultants indicate that this could amount to the School an extra £798, 000 being available to the School via the Local Authority Central Spend Equivalent Grant (LACSEG) which is paid to academies in recognition of the fact that as independent schools they no longer receive a number of services from local authorities (LAs), and must make appropriate provision for themselves. This would suggest that previously the School has not been receiving good value for funds being held back.

As an Academy Governors and the Headteacher would have greater freedom and flexibility to use resources to support high standards of student achievement with decisions about the education of students at Heston Community School being made locally rather than by central government
or the Local Authority. In converting to an Academy, the Financial Year moves to match the Academic Year that, in turn, supports more effectively whole school strategic planning for improvement. The School would also hold its own bank account thereby lessening bureaucracy. As an Academy, the School would be subject to Company Law requirements. These are very robust and are regulated by a Funding Agreement with the Secretary of State for education. Academies are able to reclaim VAT in the same way as Schools do.

I hope when Heston Community School parents go to the polls on Thursday they remember which party is responsible for their children's school having this enhanced opportunity.