George Osborne's academies scheme has funding black hole, Labour says


Government plans to turn all schools into academies face a £1.1 billion funding shortfall according to Labour who said the costly scheme could harm the education system.

In his recent Budget, Chancellor George Osborne announced plans to turn every state school into an academy by 2022, although Labour warned that just £140 million was set aside for the conversions.

Figures obtained by Labour from a parliamentary question suggest that each transformation from school to academy costs around £66,000 on average. They said councils would have to cover a further £12,300 in costs, such as legal fees, per school.

The Government intends to turn 16,800 schools into academies by the end of this parliament. Those that have not converted must have plans in place to do so by 2022.

Under Labour's calculations the cost to the Department for Education and local authorities would be more than £1.3 billion.

Shadow education secretary Lucy Powell said the added cost came at a time when schools were facing "huge challenges", including reduced budgets.

"This costly reorganisation of our schools, is an unnecessary and unfounded distraction, which could harm standards in our schools," she said.