Government officials are heading to Lancashire for a showdown with education chiefs over the shortage of academies in the area.
The county’s education authority and teaching unions have been at loggerheads with Westminster over claims officials tied to force schools to adopt academia status.
The Department for Education wants to see more than the current handful of its flagship schools in the county.
The previous Conservative controlled LEA protested to Education Secretary Michael Gove over what it said were “bullying tactics” used by academy brokers to try to force schools to convert .
Now the county’s new education chairman Coun Matthew Tomlinson said the DfE has asked for a meeting to re-open the academy issue.
The call comes as the Chief Inspector for Ofsted officially praised the high standards in Lancashire schools, singling out a clutch of schools for special mention in a new national report.
Lancashire is in the top third and also bucked the national trend with high pass rates in both GCSE and A level results and unlike many other areas - including Mr Gove’s own constituency- has a high percentage , over 80 per cent, of schools rated good and outstanding unde r the tough new Ofsted inspection criteria.
Coun Tomlinson said: “ The DfE wrote to me again expressing disappointment at the number of academies we have in Lancashire and asking for a meeting.
“My view is that there is no need. As far as I am concerned Lancashire schools are doing well and perfectly happy to stay in with the county.
“ If they want to meet, I will meet them but I have nothing to say. At the end of the day individual schools decide what they want to do and it is certainly not for us to say they should or shouldn’t become academies. Our job is to support them.
“They choose to stay within the control of the county.”