Government to bring in sponsors to convert 400 failing primary schools into academies
Prime Minister David Cameron has outlined plans to improve the UK's 400 weakest primary schools by pairing them up with sponsors and turning them into academies.
According to reports, he wants to see them join the 2,456 academies which have already been established (with a further 823 schools in the process of being converted into academies) as part of the Coalition government's efforts to meet the aspirations of parents and children.
The reforms are planned to be pushed through by the end of 2013.
Academies are independent, all ability schools in England which are run by an academy trust, ie a company limited by guarantee, set up by a sponsor. Sponsors - individuals or organisations - come from business, voluntary or faith groups.
On a day-to-day basis, academies operate independently of national or local government. This aspect of the academy system is intended to provide schools with the freedom to make the best decisions for their individual circumstances.
With effect from November 2010, all schools in England have been eligible to apply for academy status.
Sponsors are tasked with establishing the academy trust and it is this body that runs the academy and that is ultimately responsible for ensuring that it fulfils its legal obligations and delivers on its contractual commitments.