Sara Hawthorn 24 July 2014

Report reveals varying success for academies

Report reveals varying success for academies image

The best academy chains are outperforming other state-funded schools, while others are failing to raise standards, research has revealed.

The Chain Effects report from the Sutton Trust shows disadvantaged students are improving faster than the national average in 18 of 31 chain academies, but warns that weaker academy chains are underperforming when compared with mainstream schools.

On the core five good GCSEs measure, five chains improved significantly more than the national average between 2011 and 2013. These were Barnfield, The City of London Corporation, the David Ross Education Trust, the Diocese of Salisbury, and Leigh Academies Trust.

In all of these chains, the improvement in the proportion of disadvantaged students achieving five good grades in 2013 was 4.5 times the average rate in all mainstream schools. However, the report shows that some academies used vocational qualifications equivalent to GCSEs to achieve these results, which will be disallowed from the 2014 performance tables.

Conor Ryan, director of research at the Sutton Trust, said: ‘When academies were first established more than a decade ago, their primary purpose was to lift standards for disadvantaged pupils in areas where schools had been failing.

‘Our report shows that some chains are succeeding well in meeting this goal but others are failing to do so, particularly on those measures against which all schools are increasingly judged. Of course, it takes time to turn around failing schools, so we have also highlighted those schools that are showing rapid improvement.

‘However, it is vital that Ofsted routinely inspects academy chains and there is much stronger action taken where chains are consistently underperforming.’

Professor Becky Francis, one of the researchers of the report from King’s College London, added: ‘Some chains are securing excellent results for their disadvantaged pupils across a whole range of measures, showing what can be achieved her by experienced chains with a planned approach to growth.

‘Their work should be recognised and applauded. But others are doing badly on important measures, and risk becoming part of the problem rather than the solution for their disadvantaged pupils. The Government needs to increase transparency and scrutiny of academy chains.’

Basic income pilots image

Basic income pilots

Gail Irvine finds out how local government in Scotland is leading the way on basic income.
Highways jobs

Civil Enforcement Officer

Chelmsford City Council
Grade 4 - Starting at £20,415 per annum and rising to £21,777
This role will require you to assist with the safe and free flow of traffic by patrolling on foot and / or mobile controlled parking areas and issu... Chelmsford, Essex
Recuriter: Chelmsford City Council

Administrative Support Officer - Conservative Group

Brent Council
£29,241 - £30,711 (pro rata)
This post will provide efficient, effective and flexible support to members of the Conservative Opposition Group... Brentford (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council


Cornwall Investment Delivery Company
Remuneration commensurate with the challenge
We are looking for a Chair to establish the new company, oversee the development of its strategy. Truro, Cornwall
Recuriter: Cornwall Investment Delivery Company

Managing Director

Cornwall Investment Delivery Company
Remuneration commensurate with the challenge
Looking for someone with a strong development background, real commercial credentials. Truro, Cornwall
Recuriter: Cornwall Investment Delivery Company

Non-Executive Directors

Cornwall Investment Delivery Company
Remuneration commensurate with the challenge
Looking for Non-Executive Directors who will bring their commercial experience and skills to this new company’s dynamic. Truro, Cornwall
Recuriter: Cornwall Investment Delivery Company

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

The December issue of Local Government News looks at the consequences a council may face if it is unable to provide statutory services, the launch of Liverpool’s housing company and how councils can best manage roles in local authority companies.

It also has a special section on green building and energy efficiency including what funding is available to enable councils to deliver heat networks and how councils can pay for ‘smart buildings’.

Register for your free magazine