William Eichler 23 May 2019

Council schools get better Ofsted ratings than academies, report finds

Council-maintained schools are more likely to remain ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ than their academy counterparts, new research suggests.

A report by Angel Solutions looks at primary and secondary schools’ Ofsted grades over the past five years and compares those which remained council-maintained to those that academised.

It found that 90% (9,400) of schools remaining council-maintained have kept their ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ rating, compared to 81% (2,275) which converted to academies.

Looking at an overall sample of 12,814 schools which remained maintained, and 4,033 schools which academised, the report also found that council schools were more likely to improve under local authority control.

Around 88% (2,048) of the schools ‘requiring improvement’ or judged ‘inadequate’ in February 2014 which remained maintained became ‘good’/‘outstanding’ in 2019, compared with 59% (723) of the schools which converted to academies.

The report, commissioned by the Local Government Association, also found that 41% (502) of schools ‘requiring improvement’ or judged ‘inadequate’ in February 2014 which converted to academies still had the same rating in February 2019.

‘These findings clearly show that staying under council control delivers better results for a school than those which convert to an academy,’ said Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board.

‘Not only do more schools keep a ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ rating if they remain maintained, but a significantly greater proportion are being turned around from struggling or failing into highly performing and successful schools.

‘While academisation might be the answer in some cases, it is not always the best solution. Councils have an excellent track record in improving schools, and need to be given the necessary powers to intervene and support schools.’

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