Here is a resource I created for the Haringey Schools Conference today. It is a True or False quiz, together with answers. Very useful if you are trying to persuade that the case for academies is not as strong as the DfE claims. Click below to download the Word document:
Academies True or False
I hope its useful. Here's the statements, and the data (the download includes graphs too, which I will try later to update this post to include):
1) “Academies' GCSE results improved by nearly twice the level seen across all maintained schools in 2011” (DfE): False
This result is only achieved by omitting academies who were previously independent or CTCs. It is the effect of comparing all non-academies with academies who generally had lower results in 2010. If you compare academies with non-academies with similar results, the difference disappears:
If we take all schools with 2010 results under 35% (the current floor target), we find that academies results grew from 29% in 2010 to 37% in 2011, an increase of 8%. That is very impressive and those schools should be congratulated on the improvement. But the comparison group of non-academies grew from 30% in 2010 to 38% in 2011, again a growth of 8%. (There were 58 academies and 161 non academies in this range.)
2) State secondaries with low GCSE results are stuck there and rarely improve: False
The DfE data shows significant improvement in non-academies between 2008 and 2011, especially in the schools with high levels of disadvantaged students.
3) Long established academies get better GCSE results than non academies: False
Overall they do worse. Comparing to schools on similar levels of disadvantage, academies do worse in two of the three bands and only slightly better in the other band:
4) Academies with high levels of disadvantaged students do better than similar non-academies: False
Comparing academies with non-academies in bands, according to level of disadvantage (as measured by % of students on free school meals), finds non-academies out-performing academies in every band.
5) Academies starting from a low base (in terms of GCSE results) improved faster than similar non-academies: False
Taking figures for 2008-2011, comparing long-established academies and non-academies – where results were below 30% in 2008, both grew by 19%:
6) “Academies inflate results with easy qualifications” (Telegraph): True
As the Telegraph reported (3rd Feb 2012), the benchmark GCSE results for non-academies fell by 6% once GCSE equivalents were removed, but by 12% for academies: http://tgr.ph/I2Iyjh
7) Although individual academies have mixed results, the education chains perform strongly: False
Two chains (Ark and Harris) do outperform non-academies on headline results, but all chains are below the average for non-academies, once GCSE equivalents are stripped out.
8) The 2011 GCSE results would cause 80% of academies to be below the new floor levels in 2015: True
In 2011 only 20% of academies would have reached the 2015 floor target of 50% of students getting 5 GCSEs including English and Maths – once the new rules for equivlanets are applied. (DfE data)
9) More academies are outstanding than other state schools: Partly True
Of academies inspected last year, 18% were found to be outstanding, compared to just 15% of schools overall. But it is a carefully selected statistic. If we look at the % getting Good or outstanding, the situation is reversed: 53% of academies achieved it last year, compared to 57% of all state schools inspected that year (Ofsted annual report
). Overall 70% of state schools were rated Good or Outstanding in their last inspection. (The figure for last year is lower because Good and Outstanding schools are inspected less often.)
10) Academies exclude twice as many schools as other state secondaries: True
In 2009/10 (the latest year for which figures are available), secondary academies excluded 3.1 students out of every 1,000. The level for secondaries overall was 1.5. More detail here
11) Funding levels for academies are publicly available for all to see. (Cameron to Education Select Committee): False
The published data on school funding includes all income and expenditure figures for maintained schools. However this data is missing for academies
12) The research on Charter schools in the USA show they out-perform other schools: False
The most thorough piece of research on Charter schools was carried out by
- 17% of charter schools showed academic gains significantly better than other schools
- 46% showed no significant difference
- 37% showed academic gains significantly worse than other schools
Source: Stanford University
13) Mossbourne is an Academy and performs exceptionally well. Therefore all academies will perform exceptionally well: False
Mossbourne’s results are remarkable, but it is false logic to assume this will mean other academies will do as well. While Mossbourne is in the top handful of schools for results (given either level of disadvantaged schools or high levels of prior low attainment), the other schools that perform best are all non-academies.
14) The accounts for the education chains, like all other charities, are made publicly available by the Charities Commission: False
A clause in the recent Education Bill made the education chains exempt charities. This means their accounts are no longer displayed on the Charities Commission web site.
15) “…all those schools that have taken on academy freedoms are engaged in working with or collaborating with other schools to help them to raise standards more broadly.” (Michael Gove): False
Only 3% of converter academies are helping weaker schools
There is virtually no evidence in the 2011 DfE data of academies performing better than non-academies. There are many measures on which they perform worse. Indeed what the data shows is remarkably strong performance by non-academies, especially those with disadvantaged intakes or previously low GCSE results. The hard work and dedication of the teachers and students in those schools deserves to be recognised and applauded.