Yesterday the DfE made its annual release
of school-by-school performance data. As I predicted earlier
this week, the press release again claimed that “Sponsored academies continue to improve faster than local authority schools”, by 2.3% to 1.8%.
But, like in 2011
, any difference disappears if you compare similar schools. The chart below groups the increases for the two types of schools, grouped by their 2012 results. As is clear, those with previously low results tend to see a big increase, while those with previously strong results – on average – see a fall in results.
|Change in GCSE benchmark results, 2012-2013|
|2012 band||Sp Academies||Non academies|
|20% to 40%||9.5%||8.8%|
|40% to 60%||1.0%||2.6%|
|60% to 80%||-0.5%||-0.5%|
|80% to 100%||-3.5%||-1.9%|
(Note: The category 0 to 20% is omitted as it contained only 3 schools. None were academies, and their results grew on average by a whopping 23%.)
So academies did slightly better in the 20% to 40% category. Non academies improved more in the 40% to 60% category and fell less in the 80% plus one. The figures were even in the 60% to 80% category. And this is before taking account of the fact that for academies 14.7% of the benchmark results are, on average, down to GCSE equivalents – compared to just 7.3% for non-academies.
Congratulations to all improving schools
There was one surprising element of the DfE press release. To his credit, Gove did praise the “professionalism and hard work of teachers”, whose efforts were responsible for the improvement in school performance. This is a welcome change from the message we often hear from government and one statement that I can heartily agree with.
What is clear from the data is that there is again widespread improvement in schools previously labelled as under-performing. As in previous years this had little to do with school structure, despite the huge effort and expense this government has put into the academy programme. Whether schools became academies or whether they stayed with local authorities we see a considerable capability to increase the results of their pupils. A huge congratulations, and big thank you for all the hard work and determination of the teachers.
Most improved schools in England
Six schools saw their results increase by more than 30% and these are listed below. A huge well done to all involved. Note that only two of the six are academies.
|Rushden Community College||Rushden||34%|
|Sir John Talbot's ge||Whitchurch||32%|
|North Shore Academy||Stockton-on-Tees||31%|
|Ormiston Ilkeston Academy||Ilkeston||31%|
|St Thomas the Apostle College||London||31%|