Primary academies data reveals mixed results

According to research by education data firm SchoolDash, schools which convert to academies have shown mixed results, in regard to performance.

The study found that while there can be gains for disadvantaged pupils in struggling primary schools that convert, most successful schools that are transformed into academies are unlikely to improve further.

Currently, only one in six primary schools have been converted into academies. If the government’s plans to make all schools into academies goes ahead, it will have a significant impact on primary schools, compelling over 13,000 centres to change.

The analysis compared the performance of test results of academies with local authority run primary schools in similar circumstances. It found most primary academies tended to be high-achieving before being converted. SchoolDash also claimed that there was ‘no evidence’ that academy status brought improvements to the schools or that the academies were any better that their local authority counterparts.

However, the research did outline that the smaller number of ‘sponsored’ academies which were previously under-achieving, made more progress when they became academies. The improvements were particularly evident among the performance of disadvantaged pupils.

Timo Hannay, SchoolDash founder, said: "The challenge for those who support compulsory academisation is to explain why a good school should be forced to convert against its wishes if there are unlikely to be any tangible academic gains.

"And the challenge for those who oppose it is to explain how else they would reduce the disparity between the best and the worst schools in the country, a gap that is still far too wide."

The data identified widespread regional variations in the spread of academisation, with areas such as Bournemouth, Darlington and Middlesborough containing a high percentage of converted schools, compared with West Berkshire, Camden and Brighton and Hove, where there are no converted academies.

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