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City Academies: Sponsorship

Volume 460: debated on Wednesday 9 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will list the local authorities which have expressed an interest in sponsoring an academy; and what progress has been made with each expression of interest. (133038)

Sunderland city council, Manchester city council, Kent county council, Coventry city council and the Royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea have all signed a formal Expression of Interest as a part sponsor of one or more academy projects. In each case the council proposed to become part-sponsor but with the non-state sponsor appointing a majority of the governors and taking responsibility for the governance of the academy, as is required under the academies programme even when a local authority is part sponsor. It is not permitted that the local authority appoint more than two governors or play the leading role in the academy governance.

Once a formal Expression of Interest has been signed and approved by Ministers there are two further stages in the development of an academy before it opens—a “feasibility stage” during which the project team prepares detailed plans, including an educational vision and model, and formally consults with the local community; and an “implementation stage” during which detailed plans for school improvement are developed by all the stakeholders, and any necessary building work is carried out. Sunderland city council’s interest is in three academies, all of which have entered their feasibility stage. Manchester city council has signed an Expression of Interest for a total of seven academies, all of which have entered their feasibility stage. Kent county council has an interest in five projects, of which one is already open and four have entered feasibility. The Royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea has signed an Expression of Interest for one academy, which is in its implementation stage. All of the academies have non-state co-sponsors.