Local education authorities are being forced to consider building city academies after the government hinted that funding for other schools projects could be jeopardised if authorities do not participate in the initiative.

LEAs from the first wave of the government’s Building Schools for the Future programme claim they are facing “heavy pressure” to accept the academies, which are part-funded by private sponsors and topped up with government cash. The LEAs say they risk losing out on funding if they do not comply.

Newcastle council has reconsidered its original rejection of an academy after the Department for Education and Skills hinted that it could withdraw funding from other schools projects.

Newcastle councillor Nick Cott said: “We’ve been forced down this route. At one meeting with the DfES we were told we would have to make a very robust case for not having an academy. We’re now having to act pragmatically, or we risk losing £130m of funding.”