Jessica Luper 24 July 2015

Nearly half of academies are 'coasting' warns report

Almost half of academy chains have schools that are performing below tough new government guidelines, according to new analysis.

A report by the Sutton Trust compared the performance of disadvantaged students – those entitled to the pupil premium – in sponsored academies in 34 chains from 2012-2014. It found that in 11 of the 34 chains, disadvantaged students in sponsored academies outperformed the average for those in mainstream schools – all state-funded secondary schools including academies – in 2014.

However, the report found that 44% of the academies analysed were below the government’s new ‘coasting’ level in 2014 and 26 of 34 chains had at least one coasting school. The Sutton Trust is urging the Government to include a measure of attainment for disadvantaged pupils in its new criteria for coasting schools.

The Government has recently stated that, in an effort to improve their results, coasting schools will be converted to academies in the future.

Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust, said: ‘Our report suggests that, while there have been some outstanding performers, many chain sponsors, despite several years in charge of their schools, continue to struggle to improve the outcomes of their most disadvantaged students.

'The distance left to travel has been thrown into stark relief as the government now sets its sights on improving ‘coasting schools’: schools that have failed to improve significantly across three years.

'The best academies benefit from good leadership and good teaching, which provide an outstanding example to others that continue to face challenges.’

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