This year’s much heralded Ofsted report contains some valuable figures that are barely reported. The report comments:
“Too many academies do not receive effective challenge and support. More than 2,000 academies are not part of a MAT and some have become isolated. Isolation can lead to underperformance. Our analysis of academies that experienced a sharp fall in inspection grade last year shows that most had not made arrangements for external support and challenge until it was too late and serious decline had set in.”
For the Anti Academies Alliance, Ofsted is not the final arbiter on the quality of education and it has been much criticised for its role in the academisation of schools. However this week’s data is yet further proof that the programme is not working and must be stopped until a full inquiry into education can be held.
So what are they alluding to?
Ofsted separates schools into several categories, the most important of which are local authority maintained, academy convertors, sponsor-led academies.
Since academy convertors have tended to be the highest performing schools which felt they had little need of LA support, they are unsurprisingly doing quite well.
The real story lies in the sponsor-led academies. These are generally the schools that the sadly departed Michael Gove decided were underperforming and who persuaded or forced to become academies.
Comparing these to the LA maintained schools shows that far from improving, sponsor-led academies continue to struggle.
Summarised to good and outstanding or require improvement and inadequate
When you compare them together
The figures for Ofsted reports in the last year are more extreme:
|Overall effectiveness of maintained schools and academies inspected between 1 September 2013 and 31 August 2014, by phase and type|
|Summarised to good and outstanding or require improvement and inadequate|
So whilst 50% of sponsor-led academies that have been assessed by Ofsted are in the require improvement or inadequate categories, this rises to 70% of those assessed in the last year, a significant increase.
Academies, we were told, are the answer to a school’s problems. From the very outset we have argued that this is not the case. The stories about the problems encountered by academies, and sponsor chains, continue to pour in, yet still the main parties claim that academies work. We will continue to expose the truth, and argue that we need a democratically run education system that puts the educational needs of all our children over the narrow political agenda ultimately set by those who believe our schools should be run for profit.