Two academies per week need intervention

School

An average of more than two academies per week in England are facing formal interventions because of poor performance.

The figures have been released by ministers in response to a question by the Liberal Democrats.

In the past year, 66 academies have been moved to another chain and 50 have been given warning notices to improve.

The Department for Education says academies have been at the centre of improvements in standards.

But Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron says it is “evidence that the government is putting dogma first”.

Long-term improvement?

The Department for Education’s figures show how many academies had faced formal interventions from regional school commissioners in the past 12 months.

The highest number were in the East Midlands and Humber region, where 13 academies faced warning notices and 18 had been moved to another academy chain or sponsor.

In the South West, there were 21 academies taken over by another sponsor and three were sent warning notices.

“This data seems to suggest that the ideological experiment has failed and the Tory obsession with what is on a schools’ nameplate hasn’t improved standards.,” said Mr Farron.

A separate report on academies has published research into the performance of sponsored academies, created since 2010.

The study, from the London School of Economics and the Education Policy Institute, says that results improve in the year after a secondary school is converted into an academy.

But it says “the improvement dissipates over the following three years, eventually returning to levels previously seen before the school became an academy”.

Russell Hobby, leader of the National Association of Head Teachers, says this research “makes clear that turning a school into an academy will not in itself boost performance”.

“It’s clear that an automatic ‘academy effect’ does not exist.”

The head teachers’ leader said a more important factor was whether schools had “enough talented and highly qualified teachers” and that changing structures was “no substitute for getting the basics right”.

Earlier this year, the then Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, was pushed by a backbench rebellion to abandon a plan to require all schools in England to become an academy.

The current Education Secretary, Justine Greening, has still to decide whether to press ahead with plans that would allow academy chains to run without any parent governors.

A Department for Education spokeswoman said: “Our reforms, which have academies at their heart, are raising standards for children across the country, with over 1.4 million more pupils in good or outstanding schools than in 2010.

“Converter academies continue to perform above the average for state-funded schools, while sponsored academies are typically schools that were previously poorly performing, but have been improving on average.”

[Source:- BBC]

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