Nicky Morgan is wrong – the evidence for academies doesn’t add up

Writing in the Guardian, Henry Stewart of the Local Schools Network says the new bill promoting ‘academisation’ is misleading as government claims about the effect of conversion are based on ideology not data…

…The education select committee, chaired by Graham Stuart of the Conservatives, carried out a thorough review of academies and free schools and found no such evidence. “Academisation is not always successful nor is it the only proven alternative for a struggling school,” was one of their conclusions. Indeed, Morgan has ignored their recommendation that “the government should stop exaggerating the success of academies”.

Similarly, the National Foundation for Educational Research found that “no significant improvement is seen in the rate of improvement of GCSE results for academy schools over and above the rate of improvement in all schools”. The Department for Education itself, in a high court case last summer, argued only for “marginally higher” achievement for academies rather than the dramatic results that Morgan is claiming.

Our own analysis at the Local Schools Network has consistently shown that when schools are converted to academies their improvement is no better than similar local authority schools. Indeed, in last year’s GCSE figures, the results of sponsored academies consistently fell more than the results of non-academies.

After Ofsted inspections carried out since conversion, 8% of primary sponsored academies, and 14% of secondaries, are currently rated “inadequate”. It is not clear what the government’s solution is for children in these schools in special measures. The evidence would suggest the best solution might be to hand them back to local authorities, but this is unlikely to happen under this government…

More at: Nicky Morgan is wrong – the evidence for academies doesn’t add up

 

Aren’t the relevant figures that need to be considered here not the overall results for academies versus non-academies, but the impact specifically of turning schools classed as inadequate into academies?

Does anyone know if such a breakdown exists and, if so, what it says?

Because, whether rightly or wrongly, that is surely the point of what Nicky Morgan is looking to achieve here isn’t it (or if it isn’t, perhaps it should be): forcing rapid change on schools deemed to be failing?

I would have thought it is the fresh start that should be the key rather than the specific structure, although the government’s apparent failure to insist failing academies will also be subject to new management somewhat undermines this.

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Comments

  1. 50% of sponsored academies are judged Requires Improvement or Inadequate at their first inspection post-conversion.  Such a success rate in medicine would be regarded as high risk.

    The Ed Select Committee told politicians to stop exaggerating academy success.  The policy has cost billions (and will continue to do so as schools are forced to become academies and academies change hands).  But Morgan ignores this.

    My companion piece to Henry Stewart’s in the Local Schools Network is here http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2015/06/dfe-continues-to-hype-academy-success-as-new-education-bill-hits-the-commons/

  2. TW

    “the relevant figures that need to be considered here not the overall results for academies versus non-academies”

    Wasn’t that what the government liked to claim?

    “the impact specifically of turning schools classed as inadequate into academies”

    Sadly the edu-businesses that schools are handed over to seem quite keen on claiming credit for improvements the school had already implemented as a local authority maintained school.  It’s not as if anything said by these companies and the government should be considered as a search for truth.

    “that is surely the point of what Nicky Morgan is looking to achieve here”

    No, the point is to privatise a service to the profit of the company’s shareholders and/or directors.

    “forcing rapid change on schools deemed to be failing”

    By producing students capable of doing nothing but pass the specific tests they have been trained for?

  3. Flutterbiesltd

    SchoolsImprove I know several academies that after 3yrs go to RI or a catagory. So don’t agree that this is the best route

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