New research into how the sponsored academies programme has served
the interests of disadvantaged pupils across the country has found
“significant variation” in outcomes for pupils eligible for free school
Analysis by professors Becky Francis and Merryn Hutchings found that
while a small number of chains are “consistently outperforming”, a
larger number are achieving results “that are not improving and may be
harming the prospects of their disadvantaged students”.
In 2017, poorer pupils in 12 of the 58 trusts included in the study attained above the national average, with three chains – the City of London Academies Trust, the Diocese of London and the Harris Federation – achieving “well above”.
However, disadvantaged pupils at 30 of the chains performed below average, and a further further eight trusts recorded “well below average” attainment for that group.
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The majority of academy trust leaders are worried that growth could
have a negative effect on schools in their trust – but financial
pressures mean many are trying to expand anyway, new research reveals.
Findings released by The Key, in partnership with the Forum Strategy,
show that only 12 per cent of leaders are “not at all concerned” about
their financial viability over the next three years.
But the research reveals that most trust leaders have concerns about
expanding. Fifty one per cent said that growth could have a negative
effect on existing schools in the trust and their ability to support
Despite this, 54 per cent said they are currently trying to grow their trust in order to reach economies of scale, with 25 per cent actively looking for new schools to acquire, 24 per cent in the process of acquiring schools and five per cent planning to merge with another trust.
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