Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has announced that the government will backtrack on plans to force every state school in England to become an Academy.
Critics have accused the government of attempting to “bury bad news” by announcing the major U-turn just hours before the result of the London Mayoral election (follow our live coverage of the election here).
“I am today reaffirming our determination to see all schools to become academies,” Nicky Morgan said according to The Daily Telegraph. “However having listened to the feedback from Parliamentary colleagues and the education sector we will now change the path to reaching that goal.”
Academies differ from other state-funded schools in that they receive funding from central government, rather than local councils.
Under the new policy, only those schools that are deemed to be “underperforming” will be forced to become academies, while other schools will simply be encouraged to make the change.
People took to Twitter to criticise the timing of the announcement:
Tories bury bad news with election results coverage :
Today is, it seems, a very good day to bury bad news…
— Mikey Smith (@mikeysmith) May 6, 2016
The decision comes after head teachers across England had suggested that they could go on strike as a result of forced academisation.
Shadow Education Secretary Lucy Powell told The BBC: “It is frankly a humiliating climbdown for David Cameron and his education secretary, who just weeks ago were insisting they would plough on with the policy regardless.”
Others were more concerned that the day was being used to bury the bad news that Boaty McBoatFace is no more.
So ‘Boaty McBoatface’ is to be the ‘Sir David Attenborough’. A good day to bury bad news for Sir Boaty.
— Douglas Fraser (@BBCDouglasF) May 6, 2016
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