“In recent years, the results of sponsored academies have gone up faster than other state-funded schools, turning around some of our worst schools.”
Lord Nash, letter to E-Act
25 March 2014
This statement can only be justified by comparing sponsored academies, most of which were established from under-performing schools, with all state schools. The “improvement” is judged from a lower base. A school where results rose from 20% to 40% would have a higher “improvement” rate than one where results rose from 75% to 79%.
But when sponsored academies are compared with similar non-academies, the latter slightly outperform the former
Sponsored academies have been a “transformational change in our school system”, Lord Nash writes, and he regrets that E-Act wasn’t part of this.
Lord Nash reminds E-Act that it’s currently under a Financial Notice to Improve but believes E-Act has made “significant progress” towards addressing the Notice’s requirements. But he then reminds E-Act that two of its academies have received two pre-warning notices. He told E-Act he would be issuing three more.
In November 2011, Education Secretary Michael Gove
“The Harris academies, like those of ARK, E-ACT, ULT and others are providing children with the opportunity to transcend the circumstances of their birth, just as the grammar schools of the past gave an, admittedly smaller, proportion of their predecessors similar opportunities.”
But the majority of pupils in E-Act academies, Ofsted has now discovered, aren’t receiving a “good education”.
Michael Gove has constantly banged the drum for academy chains – he wanted them to grow as quickly as possible.
Well now they have. 14 have been “paused”, evidence has emerged of academy trustees benefiting financially from contracts, the use of equivalent exams in some of the longer-established chains including E-Act has increased since 2011, the Department for Education has “guided” schools into the arms of chains which have received pre-warning notices and £1 billion has been overspent on the academies programme.
And still Lord Nash boasts of “transformational change”.