David Cameron in schools pledge to mark 100-day anniversary


David Cameron will mark the 100-day anniversary of the first majority Conservative Government since 1997 with a vow all schools will be given the chance to convert to academy status.

The Prime Minister outlined a promise to expand on a manifesto promise to convert failing and coasting schools into academies in a Daily Telegraph article.

Mr Cameron said the Government would recruit more academy sponsors and back head teachers to allow thousands more schools to break free of council control.

The Conservative leader placed the pledge at the heart of his One Nation vision and said his party would press on with public-sector reform as Labour squabbled over its future.

He said his Government would deliver "real social mobility" and promised to "not waste a second in getting on with the job".

But Mr Cameron's record since May faced critics.

Reform of the NHS was attacked by the British Medical Association (BMA), which claimed the Tories were just chasing headlines rather than trying to fix problems. 

Trade union leaders said the first 100 days have been disastrous for workers' rights. 

Mr Cameron said: "One hundred days ago I stood on the steps of Downing Street and told the British people that the first Conservative majority government for 18 years would govern on behalf of everyone. One nation, one United Kingdom.

"It is that brand of modern, compassionate conservatism that has guided us since May 8 - and it will continue to guide this Government for the rest of this Parliament."

The Prime Minister added: "Taken together, all these beliefs add up to a genuine One Nation vision for our country through which I believe Conservative ideas can lead the way for a decade."

Mr Cameron said he "profoundly believed" academy schools were the right way forward as he placed the schools at the heart of his public-sector reforms - and accused Labour of "giving up" on making changes. 

He said: "That is why in the first 100 days we have brought forward legislation to transform all failing schools into academies, and for the first time taken the power to convert coasting schools into academies too.

"But we have also seen how these freedoms can help all schools, with more than 3,000 good and outstanding schools already making the decision to become academies themselves.

"So, when Labour leadership contenders say they want to phase out academies, I say the opposite.

"I want every school in the country to have the opportunity to become an academy and to benefit from the freedoms this brings."

Currently, while planned legislation will convert failing or coasting schools, successful schools have to apply to change status. Thousands have done so since Mr Cameron became Prime Minister in 2010.

As he marked his return to Downing Street after unexpectedly securing a narrow Commons majority, Mr Cameron said his Government's "central task" would be to "finish" turning around the economy.

He said boosts to defence spending and committing to international aid would contribute to the "hard-headed realism" needed to confront Britain's global challenges.

The BMA, the trade union and professional body for British doctors, said ministers have failed to set out how they will plug a £22 billion black hole in NHS finances while promising seven-day services without setting out how to achieve it.

BMA chair Mark Porter also slammed the Government for "attacking doctors' professionalism" in an apparent reference to claims about doctors not working weekends and demoralising other healthcare workers by freezing their pay for four years.

Dr Porter said: "When it comes to the NHS, to describe the government's performance over its first 100 days as a disappointment would be a gross understatement."

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said Mr Cameron was intent on tipping the balance too far in favour of employers, with protests expected to mount over the coming months.

"This Government has set its sights firmly on undermining the right to strike with the publication of the Trade Union Bill," she said.