LOCAL authority schools that wish to become academies will have to consult with parents, pupils and staff before changing their status.

Those considering leaving the supervision of Bury Council will also have to talk to trade unions, feeder schools and members of the wider community.

It comes after a Labour Party motion, aimed at “strengthening governance” in schools was carried at a meeting of the full council.

However, the borough’s Tory group abstained from the vote, accusing Labour of being motivated by “political ideology” rather than the needs of pupils.

The motion was moved by Labour Cllr Lucy Smith.

Addressing the council chamber, she  said that local authority schools had been the “gold standard of delivery” in the borough, hence the rate of those transferring to alternative forms of governance being lower than in other areas.

She added: “The Conservatives nationally can’t seem to make their minds up about who runs schools, first it was free schools, then grammar and then forced academisation. It’s a different policy with every reshuffle.

“Why can’t we accept that schools, their buildings and the infrastructure belong to the community and decisions about the future of schools should be made by the community?”

And she told members that it was “crucial” the whole community was consulted before schools made the irreversible step of becoming an academy – which are run by sponsors rather than local authorities.

The motion was welcomed by the Liberal Democrat group, although leader Cllr Tim Pickstone felt it could have gone further.

He said: “We recognise that it is quite sensible to set out a procedure for when schools consider voluntary conversion to academy status.

“What saddens us a little bit is it almost feels like a little bit of a change in policy, at one time we prided ourselves that on the whole we had managed to resist the local government trend and kept schools within the local government family.”

But the Tory group was critical of the motion and abstained from the voting on the motion, which was ultimately carried by Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

Cllr Bob Caserta said: “I have to say, I'm very disappointed by this motion and by the tone of this motion, it seems to me that its sole objective is to put barriers in the way of academisation”

And leader James Daly said it should be left to governors and head teachers to decide what was right for their schools.

He said: “What matters in the Labour Party is dogma and ideology, children don't matter, if it mattered there would be a paragraph saying our test for children in Bury is they will succeed, they will thrive, they will get a certain level of grades, a certain amount will go to university.

“But no, it talks about political ideology, political dogma.”