Catholic Education Service Director Oona Stannard announced today that her department will be carefully considering the new Education Bill which automatically would allow 'outstanding schools' to become academies.
She said in a statement: "CESEW has already received a number of communications seeking guidance on the implications for our sector. CESEW received a verbal indication from a Department for Education (DfE) officer that we could expect the Bill to contain a power of veto for Trustees of Catholic Schools should Governing Bodies apply for academy status. We will obviously need to scrutinise the Bill carefully in this respect as well as generally.
In the meantime Bishop Malcolm McMahon and Oona Stannard are expecting a meeting with Education Minister Michael Gove. She and other colleagues at CESEW are also in ongoing dialogue with ministers, and with officials at the DfE.
Once the Bill has been scrutinised and further intelligence gathered CESEW will be issuing detailed briefings to DSC colleagues and will also make further information available via the website. Until then it is important that no precipitous action is taken by schools.
There are likely to be many implications, legal and otherwise, that need to be considered before any response may be made on the "freedom to become an academy".