DfE says two thirds of secondary academy trusts underperform
The DfE today released analysis of the performance of multi-academy trusts, primary and secondary, in terms of value added. The results for secondaries show significant underperformance:
- Two thirds of multi-academy trusts (MATs) had value added that was below average for their secondary schools, with just one third above average
- Over half of MATs, 54%, had secondary value added performance that was "significantly below average"
- The improvement in value added was also below average for the majority of MATs (50% against 40% above average)
(Graph taken directly from DfE document)
These results should not be a surprise. Last year the DfE found that only 3 of the top 20 academy trusts were in the top half for value added and PWC reported this year that academy trusts are performing worse than local authorities.
The previous reports have been based solely on sponsored academies but this analysis is different in that it includes both sponsored academies and converter academies. Given that converters were previously Good or Outstanding schools, this might be expected to provide stronger results. But this is not the case.
For primary MATs the results are a little better but there is no evidence that MATs perform better than local authorities. For primary MATs, 46% are above average for value added compared to 50% being below. Though 54% are above average in terms of improvement.
The study also looked at the length of time schools had been with their trust. It might be assumed that academies would perform better, the longer they had been with a trust. However the DfE found "zero (linear) correlation between the current value added measure and the different length of time schools have been within each MAT, by time open" - for both primaries and secondaries. The DfE also found no evidence that MATs did better if performance was analysed by prior attainment, disadvantage, SEN or English as an additional language.
This analysis comes at the same time as a report from the Education Policy Institute, summarised in Schools Week, that "twenty of the largest multi-academy trusts (MATs) – running more than 300 schools – fall “significantly below” the national average for improving pupils’ attainment".
The conclusion is clear: There is no basis - in terms of evidence rather than ideology - for further academisation. Indeed putting more schools into MATs is likely, on the basis of the DfE's own analysis, to result in poorer achievement for students.