THE leader of Herefordshire Council says planned government school changes could "radically alter our county's education system".

All schools will have to become academies by 2022 under plans outlined by Chancellor George Osborne a fortnight ago.

The earmarked Educational Excellence Everywhere project would also see school days across England extended.

Here in Herefordshire the matter is set to be debated by Herefordshire Council's Cabinet to establish how such changes will affect the county's schools and young people.

"The proposed changes contained within the government’s white paper have the potential to radically alter our county’s education system," said Cllr Tony Johnson, the council's leader.

"Cabinet will fully consider these proposals and work with council officers to identify potential options, alongside engaging with councillors, MPs, schools and academies.

"I must stress that the white paper is only a proposal at this stage and will still need to be passed by parliament. However, it clearly states that the council’s role in relation to children will continue.

"As part of the Herefordshire children and young people's plan and the schools capital investment strategy, we are committed to improving the education, health, care and economic outcomes of our young people and whatever happens next, this will be at the forefront of our thinking."

Cllr Johnson said the government is also consulting on plans for a national funding formula to ensure every school will receive funding matched to its need.

"We are pleased that the national funding formula consultation could result in additional funding for education in Herefordshire," he added.

"We have been lobbying the government for a number of years about the current unfairness in funding arrangements, so it is pleasing to see indications that this could improve in the future."

Labour's former secretary of state for education and employment, David Blunkett, said the government's reforms appear ill thought-out and are "probably doomed to failure".

"They risk discrediting the entire academy programme," he said.