Annal Nayyar -Increasing the number of academies and free schools to create a better and more diverse school system

The DfE today published

There is an urgent need to reform our school system to prevent the standard of education in the UK from falling further behind that of other countries. Our education system is also frequently unequal, with poor performance concentrated in disadvantaged areas.

There is evidence that giving heads and teachers greater freedom over their curriculum, budget and staff can help improve the quality of the education they provide and reduce the attainment gap. We also believe giving parents, teachers and charities the ability to open schools in response to the needs of the local community will help to raise standards.


To create a more autonomous and diverse school system that offers parents choice and concentrates on improving standards, we are taking the following actions.


We are:

  • continuing to encourage primary and secondary schools to become academies
  • encouraging strong academies to work with weaker schools to raise standards
  • matching under-performing schools to the sponsors with the strongest track record in raising standards

Free schools, university technical colleges and studio schools

We are:



In July 2010, we introduced legislation to make it possible for all schools to become academies, including primary and special schools. Becoming an academy gives schools more control over their curriculum, budget and staffing.

In June 2012, we published the ‘Academies report’ for the 2010 to 2011 academic year. It provides an analysis of academies’ educational performance for that year, along with detail on number, type and location of academies across the country and evidence on why school autonomy leads to improved results.

On 12 June 2013, we published the ‘Academies annual report: academic year 2011 to 2012’. The report outlines the performance of academies during the 2011 to 2012 academic year and includes information on how academies use freedoms and flexibilities to raise standards in their schools.

Free schools

In June 2010, Education Secretary Michael Gove invited proposals from groups interested in setting up free schools.

Free schools are all-ability state-funded schools set up in response to what local people say they want and need in order to improve education for children in their community. They are academies by law and so are not under the control of their local authority. To date, the department has supported the opening of 80 free schools across England, 24 in September 2011, 55 in September 2012 and 1 in January 2013.

UTCs and studio schools

In 2011, the Education Secretary went on to invite proposals from groups interested in establishing UTCs and studio schools. UTCs and studio schools are academies for 14- to 19-year-olds. They are backed by employers who help tailor the curriculum to make sure young people are equipped with the skills that will prepare them for the world of work.

Bills and legislation

The Education Act 2011 and the Academies Act 2010 provide the legislation about academies, free schools, UTCs and studio schools


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