Are Academies ‘proven to succeed’?

Michael Gove has announced that 200 schools which he describes as ‘underperforming’ are to be forced to become academies. The schools will effectively be handed over to a sponsor to run. This sponsor could be another school, an academy chain or a charity.

Michael Gove and his officials claim that academies are ‘proven to succeed’. In truth there are very few academies that have been open long enough to investigate, and the evidence is unclear. Some academies have improved, while others have not.

A number of recent reports show that academies are far from ‘proven to succeed’

  • While there are now 1529 academies most have only recently converted and many were ‘outstanding’ when they became academies.

274 academies entered pupils for GCSEs in 2011 and 212 of these had entered pupils in 2010, allowing a comparison of their results. This          comparison shows 27% saw their results decline or remain the same. This is 57 academies, with 6 declining by 10% or more.

27% of academies making no progress is hardly ‘proven to succeed’.

  • In January the Financial Times reported that 8 academies had been bailed out by the government, costing over £10 million. As the number of academies grows there will be increasing numbers that cannot cope financially.
  • A recent report into London schools shows that academies perform worse than community schools.
  • A number of academies have failed Ofsted recently. The Sir Robert Woodard Academy, Birkdale High School and Marlowe Academy are all in special measures.
  • Newsnight ran a feature in January which accused academies of using unofficial routes to exclude ‘failing’ students who would otherwise damage their GCSE results. It also showed that academies fail to sit far more pupils for GCSE English and Maths than other schools.
  • The OASIS primary academy in Croydon is below the government benchmark. Since they threaten to turn ‘underperforming’ schools into academies, what will they turn this academy into?

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