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Headteachers (Academies)

Volume 561: debated on Monday 22 April 2013

14. How head teachers of academies can be removed if their schools fail to make the progress that can reasonably be expected. (152088)

The responsibility for the performance of an academy rests with the academy trust. Academy trusts are free to set their own processes for managing the performance, and indeed any dismissal, of head teachers. They are free to adopt the procedures that apply in maintained schools, if they choose. If the Department has concerns about the leadership of an academy, we raise the matter with the academy trust.

Successful schools are vital to the well-being of the areas that they serve. Central Bedfordshire has many outstanding head teachers in academies and maintained schools. When an academy head teacher has not made the progress that could reasonably be expected, does the Secretary of State see that there is a role for the local authority in dealing with the issue?

Local authorities certainly have an important role in championing vulnerable children in particular. If they feel that any school, whether it is a maintained school, an academy or a free school, has a principal who is not doing the right job for their children, they should raise it directly with the Department and we will together take action.

20. Head teachers in Northumberland find it unacceptable that high local government pension scheme rates are set simply because a school decides to become an academy, and yet that is the policy of the county council. Does the Secretary of State agree that that policy is totally wrong and that head teachers who aspire for their schools to be academies should be encouraged and supported? (152095)

I absolutely agree with my hon. Friend. He has fought like a tiger for the schools in his constituency and across Northumberland. I have been working with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to make progress.