Biggest SATs increases are in non-academies

Henry Stewart's picture
It may not have been mentioned in the DfE press releases this week but its data indicates that the biggest improvements in the key KS2 benchmark (% pupils achieving level 4 or above in reading and maths test and writing) were in non-academies. This should call into question whether the best solution to an "under-performing" primary is to force it to become an academy.

** 194 primaries achieved an increase of over 30% pts from 2012 to 2013. Only one was an academy
** 61 primaries achieved an increase of over 40% pts.

None were academies Now some of these were very small schools and inevitably subject to variations each year. Taking only those with at least 25 pupils taking KS2 SATs:

** 41 primaries, with at least 25 pupils taking KS2 SATs, achieved an increase of over 30% from 2012 to 2013.

Only one of these was an academy. All but one were previously below the 60% floor target. 20 of these schools have FSM levels above 40%. Here is a list of the very biggest increases, half of which have FSM levels above 40%, schools which deserve a big congratulation. None are academies:

Top 10 Most Improved Primary SATs Results 2013

SchoolYr6 No  FSM  2012  2013  Incr.
St Chads2867%43%89%46%
Springwell Park3160%45%87%42%
St Denys2934%44%86%42%
Thorn Grove3010%52%93%41%
Yardley Wood2678%50%89%39%

(There are 12 schools in this list, because the last 3 are all joint 10th)

There has been much talk about the success of London schools, which is clearly shown in the overall data. However an interesting feature of this list is that 37 of the 41 most improved primaries (and 11 of the 12 above) are outside London. (Sandringham is in Doncaster, St Chads in Manchester, Oakfield in Ryde, Springwell in Bootle, St Denys in Southampton, Westover in Portsmouth, Thorn Grove in Bishops Stortford, Felbridge in East Grinstead, Matley in Peterborough, Yardley Wood in Birmingham, Southwold in Hackney)

Clearly these schools, and the local authorities who support them, are doing something impressive to achieve this turn around. I trust that the fact that they are not academies will not deter the DfE from learning from them and from extolling their achievement.

(Note: This post has been tidied up, to include just one clear table.)


I have written this post in slight frustration, as I had intended to compare the change in results in sponsored academies with those in maintained schools. However the DfE treats a sponsored academy as a new school and so does not include its previous results in its data tables. It is therefore possible that, while only 1 of the 626 academies with results listed for 2012 and 2013 saw an increase of 30% or more in SATs results, there may be sponsored academies who managed as large an increase as the maintained schools listed here. I have submitted a Freedom of Information request for this data and will post again if it is released.

Data Notes

Data Source: DfE Primary Data 2013 This lists 16,721 primary schools. Of these, 506 were sponsored academies and 618 were converter academies. 13,957 have KS2 results listed for both 2012 and 2013 (not counting those marked as 0% for "% pupils achieving level 4 or above in reading and maths test and writing" in either year). Of these, 30 are sponsored academies and 596 are converter academies. The one academy achieving an increase above 30% was Oasis Academy New Oak in Bristol.
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