Academy or LA school? Which is better?

Date: 25.10.2018

Research from the EPI suggests that "when taken in aggregate, there is little difference in the performance of academies and local authority maintained schools. A big push in either direction would be likely to create a lot of work for DfE, and yet more turbulence in the system, but would be unlikely to increase standards.

"What we do know is that some academy trusts are performing better than others, and schools in some local authorities are performing better than in others. Our latest league tables show that for pupils, the difference between being in a high or a low performing school group is equivalent to around half a grade in each of their GCSE subjects."

Some academies have fallen short of the requirements placed on them and have been forced, or encouraged to switch trusts (re-brokering) - but does this improve matters? Between 2013-14 and 2016-17, 332 academies moved between trusts. But have they improved as a result? The EPI looked at the patchy data available and came to some rtentative conclusions, including that "there are indications that moving schools between trusts does appear to be associated with some positive outcomes and we may see further improvements over time".

However, performance data does not conclusively show that is better than the improvement all academies typically make over the same period of time. EPI suggest that "what we can say with confidence, is that tracking the performance of these schools will become increasingly important in the debate around the performance of the system as a whole". They may wish to contribute to the Ofsted 2019 framework consultation taking place in early 2019.

 

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