Becoming an academy didn’t improve 37 of 52 secondary schools judged less than good since 2005
52 secondary schools inspected in 2016/17 have not improved from requires improvement or worse since 2005, Ofsted’s Annual Report for 2016/17 reveals. The majority (37) had become academies but their Ofsted rating was not upgraded when they were inspected as academies.
Academy conversion, particularly with a sponsor, was supposed to be the best route for improvement. This was the spiel promoted by successive governments.
But as David Laws’ Coalition Diaries 2012-15 reveals, Department for Education (DfE) figures in the Coalition years were manipulated to show academies and free schools were doing better as a group than local authority (LA) maintained schools when they were not.
Deception about academies has been going on since academies were first established under Labour. Billions of pounds and much upheaval later and it’s clear that academization isn’t the promised magic bullet.
The majority of schools are still LA maintained:
- 75% of primary schools;
- 30% of secondary schools;
- 76% of special schools;
- 71% of pupil referral units (PRUs).
It’s obvious, therefore, that LAs have a greater role to play in supporting schools than multi-academy trusts (MATs). Yet Ofsted’s chief inspector Amanda Spielman places a large responsibility for school improvement on MATs because the Government wants the English state system to be ‘self-improving’. That means downgrading the role of LAs in education despite LAs being still held responsible for performance of the area’s schools.
But MATs are unlikely to be interested in the performance of schools outside the MAT. These are rival schools which could threaten the popularity of the MAT’s academies. Co-operation, therefore, is unlikely.