Prime Minister argues academisation will make it easier to help failing schools

David Cameron has said that it is time to “finish the job” of converting all schools in England to academies.

The Conservative leader gave a passionate defence of the policy during yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Questions session.

Addressing MPs, Mr Cameron said that schools which were doing well had “nothing to fear” from the academisation process and argued that the reforms had been hugely successful.

“The truth is even [with] outstanding or good schools we want them to be even better and the truth is academies and greater independence, letting head teachers run their schools, has been hugely effective,” he said.

“We have seen massive improvements in our schools because of academies and we say let’s get on with it, finish the job and give all our children a great opportunity.”

Under a timetable announced in last month’s Budget, all schools will have to convert to academy status by 2022.

However, the proposals have caused anxiety among some council leaders and MPs. While Mr Cameron has made it clear that there is no possibility of kicking the policy into the long grass, the Government is attempting to offer assurances that the changes won’t cripple small schools in rural areas – which has been one of the main concerns about the changes.

The Prime Minister also hopes that critics will be persuaded by arguments that taking schools out of local authority control will speed up the process of improving institutions which have fallen into difficulties.

“The truth is creating academies is true devolution because you are putting the power in the hands of the head teachers and the teachers,” he said.

“And of course you’ll find people in local government who want to keep things exactly as they are, but the truth is one of the reasons I so strongly support academies is that when they fail, they are intervened on so much faster. Local authority schools are often left to fail year after year after year.”