Wednesday, 30 December 2015

More awkward facts for the academy enthusiasts to answer

"There can now be no doubt that, on average, conversion to become a sponsored academy slows the improvement of a struggling school"

Data released by the NUT this morning confirms, yet again, that academisation fails to provide 'school improvement'.

As the NUT press release explains, the Education and Adoption Bill, close to becoming damaging new legislation under this Government, "is based on the assumption that the only way to improve schools was to convert to become a sponsored academy and join a Multi Academy Trust. This data casts serious doubt on that assumption." 

The data is from Ofsted's own figures, secured through a question from Lord Hunt of Kings Heath. The figures show that, while a very few academy chains may do well, overall a school is six times as likely to remain inadequate if it becomes a sponsored academy than if it remains as a maintained school!

The figures released by Ofsted in answer to Lord Hunt this month

As you can see from the table, according to Ofsted, whose findings the DfE of course set much store by, of those schools that became sponsored academies,
  • 12% remained “Inadequate” at their next inspection, compared to 2% of maintained schools
  • 53% of these sponsored academies remained either “Inadequate” or “Requires Improvement”, compared to 38% of maintained schools.
  • Of schools that stayed in the local authority maintained sector, 62% become “Good” or “Outstanding” compared to 47% for sponsored academies.

This data only confirms other comparative figures that have consistently shown similar weaknesses in the overall performance of sponsored academies. In particular, Henry Stewart from the Local Schools Network has provided a whole series of figures, looking at both primary and secondary phases, attempting to show the Government "how destructive its forced academisation could be".  

As Henry Stewart states in the NUT Press Release, “The data is clear, at primary and secondary level. There can now be no doubt that, on average, conversion to become a sponsored academy slows the improvement of a struggling school.”

Kevin Courtney, NUT Deputy General Secretary, concludes the NUT that:The Government’s whole schools strategy is based on the dogmatic belief that conversion to academy status by definition improves standards. These latest findings show this to be nonsense. It is in fact the proven structural support of maintained schools which is more likely to achieve results. But the Government’s educational vandalism is systematically undermining the role of local authorities in education, to the detriment of our children.”

Unfortunately, their dogmatic and ideological support for school privatisation and the destruction of democratically accountable local authorities means that the Tories will, once again, ignore the incontestable evidence. It will again fall to parents, students and teacher trade unionists to take action to defeat their damaging plans.

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