02 Jun 2010
Schools in England have rushed to be on the starting line for Michael Gove's dash for academy status.
Since he wrote to head teachers just last week, over 1100 schools have registered their interest. 626 of these are "outstanding" schools which are due to get "pre-approval" for academy status if the Academies Bill is passed by Parliament.
But is it really wise to race into something as complex as academy status so fast? The government would like to have some new academies in place by September but that gives little time for proper consultation with parents.
As some have pointed out, these schools became "outstanding" while part of the local authority system. They are already excellent. This is quite different from the former model of turning failing schools into academies.
It is also slightly surprising that 273 "outstanding" primary schools have registered. Primaries in a federation may be well prepared for this but for some others it is a bit of a gamble.
Of course, there is one big carrot...the extra cash. This may be proving decisive at a time when schools are nervous about future spending cuts.
A real case of carrot and stick. As yet, these schools have only registered their interest....let's hope they don't turn out to have been driven/led like donkeys!