Steady but slow progress
DfE has published the latest figures for its flagship academy programme. The figures show slow but steady progress. The first step for a local authority school to become an academy is for the governing body to ask the Secretary of State for an Academy Order. The figures for Order requests are:
Orders requested Number
Up to 31 August 2010 139
Additional Orders up to 7 October 50
Additional Orders up to 5 November 35
Additional Orders up to 3 December 41
Requests for Orders have stabilised at about 40 a month. Orders are being processed fairly promptly and approvals are keeping up with requests.
So that in the month up to 3 December, 41 Academy Orders were approved although many of these requests will have been lodged with the DfE in September and October. However, it may be slightly worrying for Ministers that only 14 schools were converted to academy status in the period up to 3 December. This suggests a big backlog of schools which have a Secretary of State approved Academy Order waiting to go the final hurdle to academy status. This final hurdle – the Academy Agreement – may be proving problematic but its not exactly clear where the problems lie.