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On 12 September 2016, the House of Lords will debate how the Government “intends to ensure that all teachers at academies and free schools are fully qualified”. Academies are publicly funded independent schools.  They are run by an academy trust, which employs the staff, and receive money direct from the government, rather than the local authority (LA). Unlike maintained schools, they do not need to follow the national curriculum and can set their own term times. However, they do need to follow the same rules as schools when it comes to admissions, exclusions and special educational needs. Similar to academies, free schools can choose not to follow the national curriculum and can set the length of their own school terms. According to the Department for Education, in January 2016 there were 20,179 state-funded primary and secondary schools in England.  Of these, as at 1 July 2016, 73 percent were LA maintained, 26 percent were academies and 1 percent were free schools, with 3,125 academies and 117 free schools providing 19 percent of primary education, and 2,028 academies and 120 free schools providing 66 percent of secondary education.  In July 2012, the Coalition Government announced that new academies would be able to employ teachers who do not possess a teaching qualification, with the same policy already in place for free schools.

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