Schools more likely to remain inadequate as a sponsored academy


Ofsted reveals a school is six times as likely to remain inadequate if it becomes a sponsored academy

For inadequate schools that become sponsored academies, 12% remain inadequate (compared to just 2% (1 in 50) of those that remain in the local authority maintained sector.

The Education and Adoption Bill is based on the assumption that the only way to improve schools was to convert to become a sponsored academy and join a Multi Academy Trust. This data casts serious doubt on that assumption.

Lord Hunt said: “There is a general assumption, in the Government and the media, that becoming a sponsored academy is the only way to improve a school. However this data, from Ofsted, suggest the opposite. A school is far more likely to improve its Ofsted status if it remains in the maintained sector.”

For schools rated “inadequate”:

·         Of those that became sponsored academies 12% remained “inadequate” at their next inspection, compared to 2% of maintained schools.

·         53% of these sponsored academies remained either “inadequate” or “Requires Improvement”, compared to 38% of maintained schools.

·         Of schools that stayed in the local authority maintained sector, 62% become “Good” or “Outstanding” compared to 47% for sponsored academies.

The one area in which sponsored academies do better is that 6% become “Outstanding” compared to 2% of maintained schools.

This backs up previous data indicating a small number of academy chains (also known as Multi Academy Trusts) do well, but most underperform compared to the maintained sector.

Henry Stewart, co-founder of the Local Schools Network, said: “This backs up the analysis we have carried out at Local Schools Network on how likely different types of schools are to improve their results.

“For primary schools, if you compare similar schools (by their prior year results) then maintained schools improved their benchmark results by 6.4% more than sponsored academies from 2013 to 2015. This gap is so large that it is statistically significant at the 99% level.

“The data is clear, at primary and secondary level. There can now be no doubt that, on average, conversion to become a sponsored academy slows the improvement of a struggling school.”

Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, added: “The Government’s whole schools strategy is based on the dogmatic belief that conversion to academy status by definition improves standards. These latest findings show this to be nonsense. It is in fact the proven structural support of maintained schools which is more likely to achieve results. But the Government’s educational vandalism is systematically undermining the role of local authorities in education, to the detriment of our children.”

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