400 primary schools to be academies
The Government will improve the UK's 400 weakest primary schools by turning them into academies, Prime Minister David Cameron has said.
He said that by the end of next year he wanted them to be paired up with sponsors to turn them into academies as part of his Government's efforts to improve education in the poorest performing schools.
The announcement comes as the Cabinet prepares to come together at an academy for a special meeting on Monday.
Mr Cameron said: "The driving mission for this Government is to build an aspiration nation, where we unlock and unleash the promise in all our people. A first-class education system is absolutely central to that vision.
"We have seen some excellent progress with our reforms, including turning 200 of the worst performing primary schools into sponsored academies, and opening more academies in the last two years than the previous Government opened in a decade.
"Time and time again we have seen how academies, with their freedom to innovate, inspire and raise standards are fuelling aspirations and helping to spread success.
"So now we want to go further, faster, with 400 more under-performing primary schools paired up with a sponsor and either open or well on their way to becoming an academy by the end of next year.
"It is simply not good enough that some children are left to struggle in failing schools, when they could be given the chance to shine."
At the time of the last general election, there were 203 academies but they were all secondary schools.
There are now 2,456 academies, and further 823 in the pipeline. Of the new academies, 333 were formerly failing primary or secondary schools. Ministers want to spend up to £10 million to develop new sponsor links.