Two in three academy chains ‘fail’ poorer pupils, study finds

The Independent is reporting that two in three academy chains are “failing” pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds, a damning study suggests. Poorer children in 38 of the 58 academy chains performed below the national average last year for all state schools, according to research from social mobility charity the Sutton Trust.

The report, which analysed the performance of children entitled to the pupil premium, a fund for poorer pupils, calls on the government’s regional schools commissioners, (RSCs) to act more firmly with chains that do not deliver improvements over time to ensure disadvantaged children do not miss out.

The report says: “A larger group of low-performing chains are achieving results that are not improving and may be harming the prospects of their disadvantaged students.

“There is little evidence that sufficient action is being taken to enable these chains to improve, or that the considerable knowledge base about how to improve struggling schools is being effectively passed on to new and underperforming chains.”

Sir Peter Lampl, founder of the Sutton Trust, said: “Improving their educational achievement was the original reason why academies were set up. In this regard they have not succeeded.”

Of the 38 underperforming chains, eight had scores which were well below the national average for disadvantaged pupils. These chains have 61 schools.

The group includes Wakefield City Academies Trust, which was forced to hand over all its 21 schools, the University of Chester Academies Trust (Ucat) and Midland Academies Trust. 

Academies were only included if they have been with the same sponsor since 2014 in order to give the sponsor time to have some impact on performance.

Angela Rayner, Labour’s shadow education secretary, said: “Academisation in and of itself does not improve educational standards or outcomes for children, yet the government has continued to treat it as the solution at a time when it has slashed school budgets and seen teacher numbers fall.”

Read the full article Two in three academy chains ‘fail’ poorer pupils, study finds

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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