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Sponsorship barrier to opening IT academies is removed

The government has scrapped the requirement for £200m sponsorship that was previously needed to sponsor a new specialist academy school.

Technology and ICT is a popular specialism at the 200 academy schools that have been opened since Tony Blair introduced them in 2000.

Of the 135 academies that were open in January this year, 33 have technology or ICT as one of their specialist subjects. The 200th academy was opened today.

The move may make it easier for technology-related academies to be started. The government scrapped the £200m sponsorship requirement - which it said was originally in place to prove sponsors' commitment - to encourage more organisations to get involved.

Educational institutions have not had to pay £2m upfront since 2007, and the government said this has led to a boost in the number of universities and colleges sponsoring academies.

Schools minister Ed Balls said, "Academy sponsorship has never just been about the money - we want the people and organisations with the right skills and leadership to come into the Academy programme.

"Scrapping the £2m sponsorship has led to a boom in the number of universities, schools and colleges coming in - so it makes sense to do the same for the voluntary and private sector.

"We are putting in a place a robust selection process to thoroughly assess potential sponsors to make sure they have the right calibre to do such a vital job for us."


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