Academies – how well are they doing?

3 Jan

In the week of 24 October 2014, the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) released figures which showed that pupils in sponsored academies in 2013 were performing marginally better in the progress they made from KS2 and KS4 and attaining five A*-C GCSEs (and equivalent qualifications, including English and Maths) than maintained schools.

The report noted that there was no significant difference in GCSE attainment between converter academies and non-academy schools after two years. The difference reduced between sponsored academies and non-academies when non-GCSE equivalents were taken out of the measurements. NFER observed that the differences could be because sponsored academy schools were either entering more candidates into BTECs or other similar, non-GCSE, qualifications or were entering the same number of pupils for these qualifications as non-academy schools, and getting better results.

Overall, the report concluded that converting to academy status made no significant difference to pupil attainment.  Academy pupils were performing at a similar level to their non-academy peers.

This will not come as a surprise to many but has (probably) not been welcome news to Ministers and Mr Michael Gove, former Secretary of State for Education and current Chief Whip and Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury.

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