Question: How much is the government’s plan to change all state schools into academies, predicted to cost?
Answer: £1.3 billion – according to the Labour party.
Labour predict that the government’s plan to change all state schools into academies, will cost more than £1.3bn (billion). They say the figure is based on a Parliamentary written answer, where the government paid £66,000 per school for earlier academy conversions.
Chancellor George Osborne announced in his budget last month, that all state schools must become academies by 2020 or at least have plans to do so by 2022. Schools changing their status to an academy, means all of their funding comes straight from the government, rather than having their budgets come through local authorities.
Labour’s figure relies on an answer given by children’s minister Edward Timpson, when he was asked how much the Department of Education had spent on changing schools into academies. The answer shows the Department of Education spent around £323m converting 4,897 schools to academies between April 2010 and January 2016 – which averages around £66,000 per school.
£66,000 multiplied with the amount of school’s rest to convert into academies (16,800), including special schools and pupil referral units, Labour say the total amount that will be spent will be £1.1bn. On top of that figure, £206m could be spent on legal fees to the local authorities of these schools. Bringing the total cost to over £1.3bn.
Last month’s budget allocated £640m over fours to be split between meeting costs of changing schools into academies and the rest being spent on a new formula to end uneven levels of funding for schools. However, Labour suggest that the budget earmarks a total of £500m for the new national funding formula, leaving only £140m for the academy changes.
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Personally, I don’t feel changing all schools into academies is necessary, especially if schools are achieving their targets without being academies.
But what do you think? Is it really worth the money to change all state schools into academies or do you feel the government should do more to get behind under-achieving schools more?