Almost a quarter of schools in Leeds are no longer controlled by the council showing the startling growth of the academy programme in the city.
The city now has more than 50 schools run by charitable trusts, with sponsors ranging from churches to businesses and philanthropists.
Research carried out by the Yorkshire Evening Post shows that 29 primary schools and 21 secondaries are now academies, alongside one special school. There are also eight free schools, including one University Technical College (UTC), which are brand-new schools set up as academies by groups including parents and charities in response to demand from the community.
A total of 220 schools remain under council control in Leeds.
The Government wants all schools to become academies funded directly by Whitehall, independent of local councils, which traditionally ran English schools.
Currently, 2,128 out of 3,172 secondary schools in England are academies, while 3,829 out of 16,649 primary schools have academy status.
The number grew dramatically under the Coalition Government, from 203 in May 2010, and has continued under the present Conservative government.
The staggering growth reflects the Government’s ambition of increasing the academy programme but it has raised questions about the accountability and the pace of change – particularly with a major increase of organisations running a large number of academies. There are currently 125 multi-academy trusts running schools in Yorkshire, with the Delta Academies Trust being the largest, running 38 schools in the region, including six in Leeds.
A spokesperson for the ruling Labour group at Leeds City Council said: “The Government is clearly determined to pursue its education reforms including the expansion of academies and the introduction of free schools, contributing to an increasingly fragmented school system.
“Our vision is for Leeds to be a child friendly city and it is important we strengthen our partnerships and engage in constructive dialogue, creating strong schools and academies that work together so no one is left behind.”