Last year Michael Gove announced that 200 primary schools were ‘underperforming’ and he would force them to become academies if they didn’t do so ‘voluntarily’.
Since then he has continued his drive to force primaries to become academies. Parents in Downhills school have resisted their school becoming an academy and 1,000 people marched through Haringey to oppose 4 schools being forced to become academies. Since then Downhills had a short notice Ofsted inspection that, to nobody’s surprise, put the school in special measures. Nightingale school had their governors replaced by an Interim Executive Board and was forced to become an academy. Governors in 2 other primaries in Haringey gave in to Gove in the face of this harassment and agreed to become academies.
Gove has now identified 96 Primary schools and 65 secondary schools which are to become sponsored academies, many against the wishes of staff and pupils.
So who is Gove handing the schools to?
The top of the list is as follows:
|Academies Enterprise Trust (AET)||
|The Kemnal Academies Trust||
|Absolute Return for Kids (ARK)||
|Greenwood Dale Foundation Trust||
|David Ross Foundation – Education Trust||
|Navigate Academies Trust (NAT)||
Gove and his supporters claim that academies are ‘proven to succeed’. So what is the track record of these sponsors?
We have looked at the GCSE results for these schools. When we compare results below it is for 5 A*-C GCSEs including English and Maths.
The government recently removed 3,000 GCSE equivalents, where an exam would be counted as the equivalent of several GCSEs. While many school results were affected by this, academies were most affected, and academy chains did very badly.
The average drop (for all maintained schools nationally) is 6 percentage points between 5A*-C with English and Maths GCSEs only and 5A*-C with English and Maths with equivalents (53.2% cf 59.1%).
Academies Enterprise Trust (AET)
AET currently have 19 academies. Of these 7 have been open long enough to enter pupils for GCSEs.
These 7 academies show a 46.5% pass rate for GCSEs including equivalents. But when the equivalents are taken out this drops to 33%, with one academy, Clacton Coastal Academy, dropping by 21%.
With just 7 academies worth of experience the government have decided to double the number of academies run by AET to 38, making it the largest chain in the country.
E-act has had plenty of problems in its short life. E-Act was formerly known as Edutrust. They changed their operating name after the then head of Edutrust Lord Bhatia was accused of financial mismanagement and forced to resign. Until very recently E-act was run by Sir Bruce Liddington who was paid a cool £265,000, making him the highest paid person in school education. Sir Bruce left rather suddenly at the end of February.
E-act currently has 16 academies and 11 have entered pupils for GCSEs.
They average 41% GCSEs with equivalents but this tumbles to 29% without equivalents. The Crest Boys academy in Brent dropped 28% when equivalents are removed and North Birmingham academy dropped 26%.
Gove is giving E-act 11 more schools.
The Kemnal Academies Trust
The Kemnal Academies Trust (KAT) currently run 12 academies of which 5 entered pupils for GCSEs.
Kemnal results fall from 52% to 39%, a drop of 13%. Orchards Academy dropped from 48% to 16%, a drop of 32%
The government have given Kemnal an extra 10 schools.
(this information was amended on 08/03/12 after a mistake was rectified)
ARK was set up by Hedge Fund managers, the people who pushed the world economy over the edge.
ARK currently run 11 schools of which 5 have entered pupils for GCSEs. ARK results fall from 64% to 43%, a drop of 21%, with St Albans in Birmingham dropping 45% from 67% to 22%. This is the worst drop in the country.
ARK also have some troubling permanent exclusion rates. The average for local authorities is .15%
The Globe academy excluded 1.31%, nearly 9 times the national average. Walworth academy excluded .97%.
ARK has been given 6 more schools.
Greenwood Dale Foundation Trust
The Greenwood Sale Foundation Trust runs 4 schools, of which 2 entered pupils for GCSEs in 2011.
The Nottingham Academy drops from 47% to 31% without equivalents, but the Skegness academy tumbles 44% from 45% to 1% when equivalents are removed!
Greenwood Dale Foundation Trust is trusted by Gove to run 6 more schools.
David Ross Foundation – Education Trust
The David Ross Foundation currently runs 4 academies. The Havelock Academy boast that since opening in 2007 its GCSEs have increased from 23% to 41%. Their website predicted they would hit 50% in 2011 but in fact they dropped to 36%. This drops a further 7% to 29% without equivalents. Their only other school to have entered pupils for GCSEs is the Malcolm Arnold Academy. This scored 34% GCSEs dropping to 29% as well without equivalents.
David Ross Foundation has earned itself another 4 schools.
Navigate Academies Trust
If you hadn’t heard of the Navigate Academies Trust you are in good company. Neither had we. This is for one simple reason – they don’t run any academies!
They have a snappy website and make lots of lovely promises but don’t have a single school. Indeed they refer to ‘partner schools’ at both primary and secondary level but can’t name them, referring to School A and School B.
The snappy website tells us that “The Navigate Academies Trust team brings together leading professionals in education, HR, project management and business processes.”
They are actually an arm of Navigate Group which appears to run a consultancy / recruitment service for schools, colleges and local authorities. For a profit, we assume.
Michael Gove has naturally given them 4 schools.
The Anti Academies Alliance has never claimed that all academies fail. However what has become clear over the last few months is that when you consider academies by GCSE results, exclusions and increasingly Ofsted reports, they are far from ‘proven to succeed’.
This latest development, forcing primaries to become academies, is not based on evidence, it is based on ideology. Gove is committed to forcing a market in education on our schools. Waiting in the wings are those who believe that schools should be run for profit.
We need to organise to resist every one of these schools becoming academies.