Growth in primary academisation exceeds secondary growth for the first time, research shows

Overall growth in primary school academisation in 2016 has exceeded secondary growth for the first time, according to research from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER).

However, this is not due to increased rate of academisation in primary schools, as growth in the proportion of schools becoming academies has been steadily falling across both phases in recent years, but the decline in growth in the secondary sector has been steeper.

Growth in the secondary sector fell from 8.4 per cent in 2013 to 2.9 per cent in 2016, while growth in the primary sector fell from 4.4 per cent in 2013 to 3.7 per cent in 2016.

The research also found that academisation continues to vary by region and phase, but suggests that these variations ‘do not appear to be due to the number if underperforming schools’. Instead, it suggests ‘a number of factors may be driving this variation’, including a lack of suitable sponsors to take on underperforming schools or different RSC approaches to tackling underperformance.

NFER is scheduled to release a follow up report in early 2017, which will examine whether there are differences in attainment outcomes and the availability of sponsors.

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