As the government has rushed to convert all English schools to academies, some have questioned the move and asked for the evidence that academies are more successful. The response has seemed to be along the lines "Look at Mossbourne's success. Mossbourne is an Academy. Therefore academies are the way forward."
The very detailed figures released today on school performance allow us to examine the evidence. And the evidence is clear. Academies are less successful than any of the other three categories, community schools, foundation schools or voluntary aided schools. First, the % achieving 5 GCSEs including English and Maths:
Academies (249): 47%
Community Schools (1,306): 56%
Foundation Schools (875): 61%
Voluntary Aided Schools (497): 67%
The numbers in brackets are the number of each type of school. Now most of these 249 will be the original Labour academies, generally situated in deprived areas. It could be argued that this explains the lower %. However, if academies are as successful as other schools (never mind more so), we can expect students to make as much progress in them. The latest data shows what % make the expected level of progress in English and Maths:
% of students making expected progress in English
Community Schools: 71%
Foundation Schools: 73%
Voluntary Aided Schools: 79%
% of students making expected progress in Maths:
Community Schools: 63%
Foundation Schools: 67%
Voluntary Aided Schools: 73%
The data is very clear. Academies underperform. Less students make expected progress in both English and Maths than in any of the three other categories. It turns out that Mossbourne (which scores 82%, 92% and 95% on these measures) is the exception, not the rule. This is despite the fact that many of these academies had vast investments as they were established.
Does the government believe in evidence-based policy or not? If it does, surely this clear and disturbing data should lead to an immediate review of the move to academies while the reason for this disparity is investigated.
These figures are a straight average of all schools in these categories in the DfE figures you can reach from here:
Added note: The academies data is based on the AC category of original academies (termed Sponsor-led academies by DfE). It does not include the 25 schools coded ACC for converter academies.
(The schools data is in the GCSEs, CSV click through. I found it wouldn't open directly in Excel. I had to store it as a CSV file, and open it from Excel. The three categories quoted here are headed AC5EM11, PT24EngPrg, PT24MathPrg. The categories are explained in the Metadata document, from the above link. The calculation was done with a simple pivot table analysis.)