A recent Department for Education press release
about the approved free schools and University Technical Colleges (UTCs) has a helpful footnote entitled “Notes to Editors”. One paragraph says:
“9 At home, schools with greater independence are also excelling. From 2009 to 2010, results in academies increased by an average of 7.8 percentage points (proportion of pupils in academies achieving five or more GCSEs at A*-C, including English and maths) compared with the national average increase of 4.5 percentage points for all state schools”.
I hope that education editors remember that the pre-2010 academies were converted from schools which were judged to be failing. Any improvement in scores, therefore, has to be judged against this low base. The DfE is being disingenuous when it says that the improvement score for pre-2010 academies is a sign of excellence when compared with non-academies, most of which were not poorly-performing when the pre-2010 were established. There are, indeed, successful academies just as there are successful non-academies. And there are poorly-performing academies just as there are poorly-performing non-academies. But Government propaganda maintains that only academies achieve excellence.
In 2010, there were 3,127 state secondary schools in England. 202 of these were academies. So Mr Gove has dismissed the achievements of 2,925 of secondary schools. He really knows how to encourage state teachers. The press release also implies that talent and imaginative teaching can only be found in free schools and UTCs. That insults teachers in the 20,303 schools that are not in Mr Gove’s favoured band.