PM takes tough stance on failing primary schools
THE Prime Minister has warned failing schools in Derby that they will have to become academies or undergo radical change.
His comments come after a series of criticisms from Education Secretary Michael Gove, who threatened that the city's failing primaries would be turned into academies.
Mr Gove has also ordered a consultation into whether Sinfin Community School should become an academy following a failed Ofsted inspection last year.
Academy status for schools means they become independent, outside of local authority control and instead receive money direct from Government.
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Teaching unions say academies will fracture the state education system and lead to privatisation.
But Mr Cameron said: "Schools which are below floor standards can't go on year after year without either being effectively taken over by an academy or radically changed.
"The evidence from academy schools across the country is that they have helped to raise standards.
"That is either through converting to academy status but is particularly where sponsors come in get behind the school, change the management if necessary and improve teaching standards."
Asked whether the Government was being too tough with Derby schools, the Prime Minister said: "My view is that you can't be tough enough on this."
Unions have asked what difference academy status can make in deprived areas of Derby.
But Mr Cameron said: "I completely challenge the precept that somehow we should accept schools in poor areas are going to perform badly.
"We should do everything we can to provide great schools in every part of the country, including areas of high deprivation.
"If you want a Government that is prepared to tolerate schools that persistently produce poor results then this is not your government."
Ian Jennison, National Union of Teachers branch secretary for Derby, said: "Why should we be using public money to fund private education? Is it going to make any difference in an area where, for example, there are a lot of refugees and pupils don't speak English?"