Secretary of State, Michael Gove, said academy heads were improving the education of pupils in their academies by the following:
“Longer school days; better paid teachers; remedial classes; more personalised learning; improved discipline; innovative curricula…”
This is what the Academies Commission found:
"In short, many maintained schools have, in the words of the Secretary of State, introduced extended school days, remedial classes, more personalised learning, improved discipline and innovative curricula, to give their pupils the best possible education. In other words, most things an academy can do, a maintained school can also do
And the Commission admitted that some academies in chains found themselves with less freedom because they were subject to "centrally-mandated systems and practices". There were also conditions and constraints placed on academies. They had to grapple with legal compexities such as company law and rules governing charities. They had financial and reporting responsibilities. This caused many academies to run up legal costs spending time and money they would rather have spent elsewhere.
So, "Most things an academy can do, a maintained school can also do
." But maintained schools don't have the extra burdens and can concentrate on their core purpose: providing education.
The Academies Commission report can be downloaded here