Shadow Education Secretary Lucy Powell has vowed to return all academies and free schools to local authorities if Labour win in 2020.

Powell, who was appointed by new Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn earlier this week, was speaking to the TES in her first print interview. The move is a major shift from Labour’s previous stance on the academies programme and signals further distance from what came before Corbyn.

Since 2010, the number of academies in England has rocketed from 203 to nearly 5,000, with almost 60 per cent of all secondary schools now directly accountable to the Department for Education.

Labour’s new stance on academies is a complete stab in the back for Tony Blair who introduced the reforms. However, it is also a warning to the government after David Cameron made it clear he wants all schools to become academies in the future. If Labour officially opposes the scheme, it will be a lot harder for Mr Cameron and the Conservatives to get away with such reforms so easily.