Academy conversion does not raise primary test results, analysis suggests

The TES is reporting a new analysis of national test results which claims ow performing primaries that have been converted to sponsored academies are improving at a slower rate than their conventional state school counterparts…

…The analysis of government figures by the Local Schools Network (LSN) compares primaries starting from similar test scores, with similar proportions of disadvantaged pupils. It suggests that in every case non-academies are actually improving faster than their sponsored academy equivalents.

Heads leaders say the findings show that the government is wrong to focus on school structures when trying to improve results…

Last month the DfE highlighted the performance of the 570 sponsored primary academies, describing them as “schools which had long records of under-performance as council-run schools but which are now finally getting the help they need”…

But its comparison is between the relatively small number of sponsored academies – which by definition are starting from a low base – and more than 13,000 maintained primaries, including thousands with good test results.

Because it is much harder to achieve large increases in test results in a school where scores are already high, the comparison is likely to be heavily skewed in favour of the sponsored academies.

To achieve a more accurate measure of how sponsored academy status improves a primary’s test results, the LSN compared schools starting from roughly the same point in pupil attainment.

Its analysis divides the primaries into five bands according to the proportion of their 11-year-olds reaching the expected level in national tests in reading, writing and maths in 2012.

The LSN, which campaigns against academisation, then looked at how much the results of the different types of schools increased in the 2013 tests.

The biggest group of sponsored academies were the 104 with between 60-79 per cent of pupils reaching the expected level in the 3Rs in 2012. A total of 6,138 non-academy primaries were in the same bracket.

On average the proportion of pupils in the sponsored academies reaching the benchmark the following year fell by 0.8 percentage points, whereas the non-academies improved by 3 percentage points.

Non-academies did better in all other brackets as well…

More at: Exclusive: Academy conversion does not raise primary test results, analysis suggests

Does this analysis throw the cat in amongst the pigeons as far as DfE claims concerning academisation are concerned or is every side going to be able to produce sets or data that support its own case? Your thoughts? Please share in the comments or via Twitter…

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  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove This comes as no surprise to actual teachers and most parents. It will be a huge shock for ministers/DfE who will deflect it

  2. kitandrew1

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove lots of primaries who turned to Academy did so for initial cash grab…frequently were high attaining already

  3. kitandrew1

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove also, many church schools ignored conversion as had some of the “freedoms” already…

  4. ged10

    MaryMyatt SchoolsImprove More care needed to follow exceptionally good models using evidence-based teaching – ie ARK ?

  5. andylutwyche

    “kitandrew1: andylutwyche SchoolsImprove are you saying it’s like a common garden slug?” In a way, yes

  6. diasporahighsch

    SchoolsImprove Has anyone sat down with Gove and shown him the evidence? May stop his frenzy for academy conversion.

  7. diasporahighsch

    SchoolsImprove Academies are finding out too late that they have to fund services formerly provided by LAs which they took for granted.

  8. alarter

    diasporahighsch SchoolsImprove only if you don’t run the school properly! You buy into services you want and get rid of the useless other

  9. alarter

    diasporahighsch SchoolsImprove other services! Getting hold of expertise as academies is much quicker than being an LA school. #fact

  10. sebbrell

    diasporahighsch SchoolsImprove that should be explored by governors during the consultation? No governing body should be taken by surprise

  11. diasporahighsch

    alarter SchoolsImprove In theory yes but private services are more expensive and academies’ purses are not bottomless. Many are struggling

  12. BirminghamCASE

    sebbrell diasporahighsch SchoolsImprove Genuine consultation with the thorough research and preparation that entails is unheard of here

  13. alarter

    diasporahighsch SchoolsImprove agreed but at least when they want the service they usually get it sooner rather than a year later!

  14. diasporahighsch

    BirminghamCASE Rushed acad conversions and lack of transparency in too many areas are to blame. Again, it’s the pupils who pay the price.

  15. BirminghamCASE

    diasporahighsch Also enormous pressure from the DfE on some ‘Outstanding’ primaries to convert and form multi-academy trusts

  16. rob_kelsall

    SchoolsImprove When will Gove apologise to schools they bullied into going academy status. Academisation was never about raising standards!

  17. diasporahighsch

    BirminghamCASE Under Gove ‘s orders so that private sponsors benefit from the sale of all academies and free schools later. Scandalous!

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