Would-be academy list published

By Hannah Richardson
BBC News education reporter

Image caption, Outstanding schools will be prioritised for academy status.

A list of 1,567 schools which have expressed an interest in becoming an academy in England has been released by the government.

Published under freedom of information laws, it includes 828 schools rated "outstanding" by Ofsted.

These top schools could be fast-tracked to academy status by September, stepping out of local authority control, if legislation is passed.

They include primaries, secondaries, grammars and faith schools.

Among the outstanding schools interested in the change, 36 are from Kent, 30 from Surrey and 27 from Hertfordshire.

At least 52 grammar schools and at least 186 Church of England and Catholic schools have registered an interest.

At least one Sikh school, one Islamic school and two Jewish schools are also on the list of interested outstanding schools.

Junior education minister Lord Hill said that more than 900 outstanding schools were interested in becoming academies.

The Department for Education said not all the names of these had been published because it had not yet been able to contact them to tell them their details were to be published.

He added: "Every school expressing an interest will have a named contact in the department, who can answer their questions and guide them through the process.

"At the same time, we expect schools to keep their governors, staff and parents updated on progress.

"This is a genuinely permissive policy, there is no pressure for any school to convert by September, and they can do so at any time, when they feel they are ready."

General secretary of the National Union of Teachers Christine Blower said those interested represented a tiny percentage of schools.

"The vast majority are extremely wary of cutting themselves free from their local community of schools and from the in depth support and advice provided by their local authority.

"It is this majority that simply do not recognise the picture of autocracy and oppression which Mr Gove paints of local authorities."

Among the 739 non-outstanding schools that have expressed an interest are at least 17 grammars, 192 primary schools and 102 Church of England or Catholic.

There are also at least five independent schools among those seeking academy status.

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