The Telegraph reports that the government have identified sponsors for 100 primary schools which they describe as ‘underperforming’ and are to be forced to become academies.
They continue to claim that academies are ‘proven to succeed’ and that the only hope for these primary schools is to convert them into academies.
In fact there remains no evidence that academies improve schools. In recent weeks several academies have been put into special measures by Ofsted. Claims for GCSE figures have been undermined by the release of ‘equivalent’ results, showing academies have been distorting their figures significantly.
Even the government’s own report ‘Sponsored Academies: Statistics’ published in February 2012 states: “The proportion of pupils achieving 5+ good grades at GCSE or equivalent including English and Maths was 12 percentage points below average in academies open for more than a year. This gap grew to 30 points when only GCSE exams, rather than equivalents, are counted.”
Three chains have been named as prospective sponsors for primary schools – ARK, Harris and OASIS.
The government boast that ARK saw an average improvement from 2010 to 2011 of 11% while Harris was 13%. OASIS was 8%.
The evidence below raises real questions about this on 2 sets of information – GCSE equivalents and Exclusions.
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%).
The average permanent exclusion rate for local authority schools is .15%. For academies it is double this at .3%.
OASIS GCSE results fell by 12% across their 11 academies. OASIS academy Wintringham fell by 28%
OASIS Academy Coulsdon permanently excluded .96% of its pupils,
OASIS academy Brightstowe .82%,
OASIS academy Enfield .74%,
OASIS academy Shirley Park .36%
Harris GCSE results fell by 15% across their 8 academies. Harris academy South Norwood fell by 29%.
Harris academy South Norwood permanently excluded .92% of its pupils,
Harris academy Falconwood .53%,
Harris City academy Crystal Palace .41%,
Harris academy at Peckham .36%
ARK school results fell from 64% good GCSEs 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.
Globe academy 1.31%,
Walworth academy .97%,
Burlington Danes academy .34%,
The decision to force 100 primary schools to become academies rests on flawed data and is an assault on democracy. The real objective for the government is not the improvement of our schools, but the privatisation of the education system, leaving thousands of schools and hundreds of thousands of pupils at the mercy of unelected, unaccountable chains.
Sponsored Academies: Statistics – House of Commons Library – www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN04719.pdf