Academies and free schools in England

Jackson, Anne
English, French
IIEP foresight papers
16 p.

Online version

About the publication

At a time when calls for greater school autonomy are multiplying across developed and developing countries alike, it is all the more important to learn from the experiences of education systems where schools have been delegated a considerable degree of responsibility. This is the case of England, ranked second among OECD countries for autonomy granted to its schools, in which the government has actively sought alternative school governance structures (including by involving private partners) during the past decade. This paper describes the foundation of research which England has relied upon to develop its policy of decentralization and school empowerment, especially since 2002 with the creation of academies and free schools – i.e. schools that enter into a direct contract with the government, and are thereby granted more autonomy. The reform introduced constitutes a unique model of delegating responsibility, whereby such schools receive the same level of public funds as other schools but have greater freedom in the use of funds, management of staff, and content of teaching, and arepermitted to be sponsored by businesses, universities, other schools, or faith groups.