2012 GCSE figures indicate Academies hit by English GCSE problems

Henry Stewart's picture
Last week the DfE released its overall summary of GCSE results. These can be compared with the equivalent statistics last year, enabling a comparison of the % gaining 5 GCSEs including English and Maths:

2011: "Academies": 49.7%
2012: "Sponsored Academies": 48.8%

In contrast the figures for those attaining 5 GCSEs in academies (regardless of whether they got English and Maths) rose from 82.3% to 84.2%. The fall must therefore be due to a reduction in the proportion gaining either English or Maths. I can't find the figures for English split by school type but it seems a fair assumption, given the widely covered problems with the downgrading of English GCSE, that academies have been badly hit by this.

Overall, across all schools, the DfE reported that the number passing 5 GCSEs (including English and Maths) fell 0.4% from 59% to 58.6%. The DfE, in its covering notes, claims the fall is due to less students taking English in Independent schools. It doesn't provide the statistics to back this up but, if true, it would mean students overall in state schools did as well as last year - increasing the contrast with academies.

Academy results fall at twice the rate of schools overall

So results for the original sponsored academies fell by 0.9%. Results for all schools fell by 0.4% (and possibly less for state schools alone). Supporters of academies claimed last year that academy GCSE results grew at twice the rate of other schools. In fact the difference disappeared when academy results were compared to those of similar non-academies. However will we find the same prominence given this year to the fact that academy results appear to have fallen at twice the rate of schools overall?

Data Notes

The 2011 "Academies" are listed as including all academies open at September 2010. The 2012 "Sponsored Academies" include those open at September 2011. Are these equivalent? The 2011 academy results cover 46,000 students. The 2012 Sponsored Academy results cover 48,000, so only a slightly larger cohort. The latter will include the small number of schools that became sponsored academies between 2010 and 2011 but not the more recent Converter Academies, which have a separate category.

It is not possible to analyse the change in Converter Academy results for 2012, as their equivalent results for 2011 were not published. This will become possible if school-by-school results are published in January, as they were last year.
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