Party Policies, and Developments Since the End of the Labour Government

The Conservative Party has supported the academy proposal from its inception but wants the scheme to go further. This accord was reflected in a remark made by Conservative spokesman David Willetts in 2006:

I am more authentically Andrew Adonis than Andrew Adonis is.
-- David Willetts,
In 2004, the Liberal Democrats were reported as being "split" on the issue and so decided that academies should not be mentioned in the party's education policy. The position of Phil Willis, the education spokesman at the time, was summarised as:

… there are no plans to abolish either city academies or specialist schools if the Lib Dems came to power, though "they would be brought under local authority control".
-- Phil Willis,

In 2005, Willis' successor, Ed Davey, argued that academies were creating a "two-tier education system" and called for the academy programme to be halted until "a proper analysis can be done".

Academies are supported by all three main political parties, with a further cross-party initiative to extend the programme into primary schools currently being considered.

In 2010 the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats coalition government announced plans to expand the academy programme with the Academies Act 2010. In May 2010 the then Education secretary Michael Gove wrote to all state schools in England inviting them to opt out of Local Authority control and convert to Academy status. Gove also stated that some academies could be created in time for the new Academic year in September 2010. By 23 July 2010, 153 schools in England had applied for academy status, lower than the prediction that more than 1,000 would do so. In spite of the expanding Academy programme, in August 2010 Gove announced that 75 existing academy rebuild projects were likely to be scaled back. Nevertheless, by September 2012, the majority of state secondary schools in England had become Academies. Monthly updated information on existing academies and free schools, and applications in process, is published by the Department for Education.