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