The West Midlands is the fastest growing region nationally when it comes to opening academies. Over a quarter of all schools have already become academies and the interest continues with over a hundred schools planning to convert in the very near future. There are now over 700 academies across the West Midlands.
Recent growth has been in the primary sector after the early concentration on secondary schools, with around 400 primary schools and nearly 300 secondary schools already converted.
The greatest number of academies can be found in Birmingham, with nearly a quarter of all their schools converted and in Staffordshire, where nearly a 100 schools have converted. Solihull and Telford and Wrekin have had the slowest rate of conversion to academy status - less than 40 schools across both Local Authorities have academy status.
The drive to convert schools to academy status is propelled by the desire to improve education in some of the most challenging schools, with the support of other local Outstanding schools. Therefore it is encouraging to see that nearly 70% of converted schools are rated by Ofsted as Outstanding or Good. Only 16% are rated as requiring improvement or in special measures.
The future trends show that the growth in academies will continue across the West Midlands with very encouraging signs of support for academies emerging from Solihull and Telford and Wrekin as well as other Local Authorities which have seen slower conversion rate. There is now a forward momentum across the West Midlands which will see a steady growth in the number of academies. This growth will be encouraged by the desire of the Government to address coasting schools – the result of this has yet to be realised.
We would welcome all business who feel they have the drive and capacity to help with the transformation of our schools to contact Academy Ambassadors. There is no doubt to improve our schools we need the help and support of outstanding leaders from all walks of life who have the capacity, drive and skills to challenge underperformance and mediocracy and to encourage positive improvement.