In the light of the ongoing spending review it would be inappropriate for me to speculate on the future costs of academy conversions. As I am sure noble Lords will appreciate, the spending review will determine the Department for Education’s total settlement and it will be that which determines the final cost. I will be delighted to comment more on the DfE’s total settlement on Report, as the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, suggested.

Of course, while I cannot provide specific details of the future funding regime, the existing grant rates for schools converting to academy status are already publicly available and published on GOV.UK.

As the published guidance sets out, there are various types of grants available to schools becoming sponsored academies. There is a grant awarded to all schools prior to opening as an academy to cover costs such as staff recruitment, project management and legal costs. There are three flat-rate amounts for this, depending on the level of transformation the school requires. In the most serious cases of concern, sponsored academies may also receive a small capital grant to improve the school environment and indicate a fresh start for the school. Overall, in the academic year 2014-15, the department paid nearly £20 million to academy trusts in pre-opening grants. We are committed to ensuring that funding for academy conversions results in maximum value for money. Since the days before 2010, we have very substantially reduced the costs involved. Funding amounts are regularly reviewed to ensure that the grant levels are appropriate.

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The purpose of the Bill is to ensure that, where a school has failed, there will be swift and decisive action to bring about improvements. We anticipate that this equates to up to 1,000 inadequate schools converting to academy status over the course of this Parliament. The exact number will vary depending on Ofsted judgments, but it is important to emphasise that this number represents a continuation of the trend we have seen over the past five years. When the previous Government came to power in 2010, there were 203 sponsored academies and now there are more than 1,500. Including converter academies, there are now more than 5,000 open academies overall.

I turn to the assertion made by the noble Lord, Lord Storey, that the Prime Minister’s vision was that every school would become an academy during this Parliament. In fact, he did not say that he expected that to happen: he said that his vision was for every school to become an academy, but he did not put a timescale on it. As far as coasting schools are concerned, as we have already discussed, that is not a default option.

Alongside failing schools, the Bill also proposes that schools that have been notified that they meet a new coasting definition should become eligible for intervention. When we discussed the coasting schools earlier in Committee, I went to some lengths to stress that regional schools commissioners will exercise discretion to decide whether and how to act in coasting schools, and that not all coasting schools will become academies. As noble Lords will be aware, we are currently consulting on our proposed coasting definition and no school will be identified as coasting until after the final 2016 performance data have been published. It is therefore impossible to predict, before the definition has been finalised and the tests have been set, exactly how many schools we expect to be labelled as coasting. We expect, however, to identify hundreds of schools which can be challenged and supported to improve.

In light of the assurances that I have given about the existing costs of conversion and the number of schools we anticipate will become sponsored academies, I hope that the House will agree that a report on the future costs of conversion is not necessary and I urge the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Storey: Heaven protect us from speculation. I think that people read very clearly into those comments from the Minister. There was a fear that coasting was the mechanism for ensuring that all schools did become academies by the end of this Parliament. People will look at that very clearly. If there are hundreds of schools that are coasting, and we need to find academy sponsors for them, there will be a cost—

Lord Nash: For some. I do not know if the noble Lord was here last week, but we discussed in some detail the circumstances in which a school might be sponsored if it was coasting, but also there were many circumstances where it may be able to cease coasting on its own or with some limited support.

Lord Storey: My apologies for not having yet been able to read the Hansardof those Committee proceedings. Of course, there will also be costs, presumably, for

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those academies that are identified as coasting. I take his point about the spending review and obviously we will come back to this issue as well. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 35 withdrawn.

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Clause 17 agreed.

Clause 18 agreed.

Bill reported without amendment.

Committee adjourned at 6.34 pm.