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Academies programme 'encouraging cooperation between schools'

Thu 05 Jan 2012

Encouraging schools to adopt academy status has led to more institutions choosing to work together, the education secretary has said.

According to Michael Gove, the academies programme has enabled schools and governing bodies to act on their "desire to help others".

Indeed, he stated that they are "continually" coming up with new ways to collaborate and support neighbouring facilities.

Mr Gove described this as an "impressive" outcome that shows how earlier arguments that academies would be "soulless, selfish islands of elitism" were unfounded.

He said concerns raised by some critics of the scheme that schools with the new status would become isolated and aggressive were "cynical" and "couldn't be further from the truth".

The education secretary added that becoming an academy will be very liberating for schools, as it will give heads "real freedom to make a difference".

For instance, he said the status empowers them to set higher salaries for teachers, offer more personalised learning and lengthen the school day.

Andrea Squires, a partner at Winckworth Sherwood Solicitors, commented: "There has been a great coming together.

"Whilst schools have always collaborated, we are now seeing more discussions about shared resources and management opportunities. We are advising many clients on how to put in place robust but flexible arrangements."

This comes after schools minister Lord Hill stated that the academies programme has helped lots of underperforming schools in deprived areas improve.

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