Academisation 'does not automatically raise standards', report suggests

A new report from the Education Policy Institute (EPI) and the London School of Economics (LSE) has advised that academisation ‘is not a panacea’ and ‘does not automatically raise standards’.

The research found that converting schools into sponsored academies may rise standards in the year after they are converted, but this improvement dissipates over the following three years, eventually returning to levels previously seen before the school became an academy.

Interestingly, the schools were also fond to improve results in the year before they become a sponsored academy. Although the report does not confirm the direct cause of this improvement, it does suggests that increased pressure from Ofsted and other bodies or attempts to try and avoid forced academisation could be contributing to this.

EPI and LSE have said that further work needs to be undertaken to fully understand what is causing the improvements to taper off and phase two of the research will take place over the next few months.

Responding to the report, Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: “Today’s report 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.

“Other factors need to be in place for a school to be successful and the foremost of these is that the school has enough talented and highly qualified teachers. This is just as likely in a maintained school as it is in an academy. Structure is a distraction.

"NAHT believes that the government should not force schools to convert. Large structural changes are no substitute for getting the basics right – enough teachers, adequate funding and strong and empowered leaders."

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