'Give us the power to run academies in Northampton' says opposition leader - after recent demise of schools trust

Academy trust The Education Fellowship had to hand Thorplands Primary School back to the Government when it ran out of money last month.
Academy trust The Education Fellowship had to hand Thorplands Primary School back to the Government when it ran out of money last month.
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The Government should allow borough councils to run school academies, a Northampton opposition leader is set to argue, after serious criticism of some of the town's education providers.

Last month the Education Fellowship, which formerly ran Blackthorn Primary School and Thorplands Primary School, announced it would have to hand its schools back to the Department for Education due to ailing finances.

Labour group leader Councillor Danielle Stone believes Northampton Borough Council should be allowed to run academy trusts.

Labour group leader Councillor Danielle Stone believes Northampton Borough Council should be allowed to run academy trusts.

A 2014 report by the Education Funding Agency raised serious concerns about the way its funds were being managed - questioning why academy bosses spent £20,000 on a "fact-finding" trip to New York.

At April's full Northampton Borough Council meeting, Labour group leader Councillor Danielle Stone (Lab, Castle), will propose the borough council is given the powers to run its own school academies.

Councillor Stone's motion comes after a report by parliamentary education select committee recommended local councils were given the power to run academies.

The Local Government Association is also in favour of thew move, recently stating local authorities could play a big part in "raising education standards and improving life chances" by setting up and running academy schools and, where necessary, taking on the running of failing academies.

The meeting will take place at the Guildhall on Monday, April 24.

The meeting will take place at the Guildhall on Monday, April 24.

Detractors say the simplest solution would be to abandon the programme of academisation put forward by the Government altogether by simply bringing all schools under local authority control.

Councillor Stone's motion asks the council to Secretary of State for Education to amend the legal ruling, which currently prevents local authorities sponsoring academy chains and setting up free schools.

The motion continues to say the council should "use its influence to remove unnecessary red tape that currently prevents high performing maintained schools from becoming academy sponsors."

Councillors will vote on the proposals at the full borough council meeting on Monday, April 24, at the Guildhall. The meeting is due to start at 6.30pm.