Ofsted reveals Original Academies less likely to be Good or Oustanding

Henry Stewart's picture
Ofsted has just published a really neat tool to analyse the ratings of schools at different time points, by level of deprivation, type of school and region. For, I think, the first time it makes possible a full comparison of the ratings of academies with LA maintained schools. Comparing the % of students in Good or Outstanding schools in the original sponsored academies and in all schools:

Sponsored academies21%52%
All state secondaries29%69%


Further, the gap is widening. In 2009, the % of students in Good or Outstanding academies was 58%, compared to 63% in schools overall. But the ratings for sponsored academies have fallen, while those for schools overall have steadily increased . (The figures here refer only to the original sponsored academies. The ratings for converter academies are above the overall average but, given that a condition for most schools converting  was an Outstanding or Good Ofsted rating, they would by definition be expected to be above average.)

Earlier this year the release of school-by-school performance data revealed that there was no evidence of better performance by academies. Now the detailed Ofsted data reveals that the sponsored academies are far less likely to be Good or Outstanding. Is it time to ask what can be done to improve these schools? What can they learn from Local Authority maintained schools?

Is the comparison fair? Some might argue that the original academies would tend to be less well rated as they were more likely to be in deprived areas. It is true that there is a link between level of deprivation and Ofsted rating, with schools in less deprived areas more likely to have a Good or better rating. The Ofsted site allows us to extract only the 20% of schools that are "most deprived". The best that can be said is that academies come a little closer to schools overall but there is still a clear gap:

Most deprivedOutstandingOutstanding/Good
Sponsored academies18%52%
All state secondaries23%59%


The Success Story: London

Once again this data reveals the success of London schools. No less than 81% of students in the capital are in Good or Outstanding schools. Even in the most deprived 20% of London schools, 75% of students are experiencing a Good or Outstanding education. The lesson again of actual data is that where we need to learn form is not the academy sector but from the remarkable transformation of schools in London.


Note: The Ofsted site allows comparison of ratings by % of schools or by % of students. All the above figures are based on % of students. All the statistics are based on the Overall Rating of Effectiveness. Only secondary schools have been included.

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Janet Downs's picture
Fri, 30/11/2012 - 15:13

Thanks, Henry - it's ironic that Ofsted's own tool doesn't quite underpin Sir Michael Wilshaw's support for sponsored academies and academy conversion in the 2012 Ofsted report. When Gove et al next trumpet the success of academies we'll be able to use evidence from Ofsted to show that it just isn't so.

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