Stories + Views
House of Commons analysis confirms no evidence of better academies performance
Yesterday the authoritative House of Commons Library produced a briefing paper on the performance of the original Labour-created academies. Comparing a range of data between academies and state schools as a whole, this paper is consistent with the results we have shown on this site – that there is no evidence of better performance for academies.
It found that the % of students achieving 5 GCSE A-Cs (including English and Maths) was 12% lower in academies and that this gap widened to 19% when GCSE equivalents were excluded. However academies do have more students with low prior attainment. So the author compares the achievement of similar groups of students:
- * For students of low prior attainment, academies do (slightly) less well than all state schools
- * For students of middle prior attainment, academies do less well than all state schools
- * For students of high prior attainment, academies do (significantly) less well than all state schools
- * For disadvantaged pupils’ academies do less well than all state schools
- * For non-disadvantaged pupils, academies do (significantly) less well than all state schools
The findings are the same as those we found. What is remarkable is the consistency: academies under-perform on virtually every single measure: Out of 15 comparison figures in the table that the above comparisons are taken from, academies are equal on one and worse on 14. Academies do less well for each group of students in terms of % achieving 5 A-Cs (inc English and Maths), for the % making expected progress in English and the % making expected progress in Maths.
The paper does find that academies have shown significant growth in GCSE results. Similar to our findings, they show that for thsoe academies with GCSE results in 2008, they grew their results (% achieving 5 A-Cs with English and Maths) by 19% between 2008 and 2011. However just like our analysis, they find that this is to be expected, given the results they started from. For example, they show that those state schools with the lowest results (under 20%) in 2010 grew these by 11% in just one year in 2011. The DfE’s main claim for academies this year has been that its growth in GCSE results has been double that of non-academies. We have shown that when academies are compared to non-academies of similar 2010 results, the growth is the same for both.
The only concessions to the pro-academy argument that the House of Commons paper makes is to quote the PriceWaterhouseCooper reports into academies. However the latest of these is based on results from 2007, over four years ago. On the 2011 data the conclusion from this authoritative and impeccable source is clear: there is no evidence that academies perform better, and quite a lot of evidence that they actually perform worse than comparable non-academies.
The confirmation of our analysis should not be a surprise. The Department for Education has already said that it did not deny the accuracy of these statistics (the ones used on this site). This site attracts comments from a fair number of people who support academies. But none have managed to effectively critique the analysis.
So the question remains: Given the huge extra funding poured into these early academies, why did they not perform better than other schools? Given the lack of any evidence in the 2011 results that academies improve performance, why is Mr Gove forcing through a mass conversion to a type of school for which there is no evidence of benefit to the students who attend them?
Note: The House of Commons Library also produced a report on the more recent Gove converter academies, with a detailed breakdown of their type, location and results.