Nearly 100 schools no longer ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ after converting to academies

The Independent is reporting findings from Ofsted’s annual report that nearly 100 schools no longer offer a “good” or “outstanding” education after converting to become academies.

“Becoming an academy does not insulate you from decline,” it said. “In 2014/15, there were 99 converter academies that declined from good or outstanding to less than good…”

Chief schools inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said 2,000 of the 3,300 secondary schools in England had now become academies and had “undoubtedly injected vigour and competition into the system”.

However, he warned: “As academies have become the norm, success or failure hasn’t automatically followed.”

In one of 16 areas to be singled out for failing to provide “good” secondary schools for more than a third of their pupils – Doncaster, every single secondary school is an academy. In Bradford, where Sir Michael called for a commission of enquiry into its low performance, more than half the schools are academies.

“It is clear that becoming an academy can lead to improvement, but it does not insulate schools from decline,” he added.  “If oversight is poor, leadership is complacent and teaching is indifferent, standards will inevitably drop.  This is true whatever type of institution the nameplate on the door proclaims the school to be.”

He said the time had come to “move on from what has become a sterile debate” over school structures, adding: It would be a distraction to seek to turn the clock back.”

The key issue was ensuring every school was a good school rather than running a fragmented system with local authority maintained and free schools and academies.  Local authorities, he said, had “failed to cut the mustard” in terms of improving schools in the 50 years up until the birth of academies…

More at: Ofsted: Nearly 100 schools no longer offer ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ education after converting to become academies


You can read or download the full annual report from Ofsted:

[pdf-embedder url=””]


A strong statement here from Sir Michael Wilshaw that, at least in his and Ofsted’s opinion, creating a good or outstanding school is about more than structure and is not achieved just by making it an academy (he is fairly damning about local authorities too).

Your thoughts on these comments and what impact, if any, do you think they will have on the wider debate about academies?


Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin every morning (around 7 am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link 

Wilshaw wants Bradford schools inquiry and commissioner as 'situation is so bad'
Fairer school funding petitions presented to MPs
Categories: Academies, Local authorities, Policy and Secondary.


  1. Nairb1

    Of course Morgan will keep on with the pretence that academy conversion leads to improvement. Doesn’t mean she believes it but it might not go down too well if she says ‘Academy conversion means we can continue to undermine local authorities and eventually remove them, leading to unprecedented opportunities for big business to move in on the school system and make huge profits.’

  2. Mixed messages from Sir M: structure doesn’t matter but academies have “undoubtedly injected vigour and competition into the system” (but primary schools, where there’s a minority of academies have improved their Ofsted ratings more quickly that the heavily-academized secondary sector); debate over structures is ‘sterile’ but he says he doesn’t want a fragmented system – this implies all schools should become academies.
    Anyone know where the slur about LAs in the last 50 years comes from?  It’s neither in the Annual Report nor the Nation Divided speech.

  3. wasateacher

    It saddens me that, whatever the value of an Ofsted grading, schools, which were good or outstanding and have converted, are now being grading as requiring improvement or even inadequate.  Perhaps it is no wonder that the reports for predecessor schools seem to disappearing from the Ofsted website now.

    Sponsored academies which were deemed to be ‘failing’ are, equally, not improving in the way that the Government would have us believe.  However, it is a tragedy that schools which were rated highly and allowed to convert are now struggling so badly without the support of the local authority.

  4. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Even Michael “academies are great” Wilshaw admits that it isn’t a magic wand; will MPs ever follow suit?

  5. andylutwyche

    anne_clarke SchoolsImprove Actually as far as our “members” (in many ways) of parliament go, I lost hope a long time ago

  6. andylutwyche

    anne_clarke SchoolsImprove Not a surprise – I think that many MPs have forgotten that they are supposed to represent their constituents

  7. jackiepepper9

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove News flash. There are good and bad academies. As numbers grow this inconvenient truth would always show.

  8. jackiepepper9

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Agree. They stick with the notion that structural change is all it takes. Vested interests playing a part too

Let us know what you think...