Varying results for academies

Does academy status improve performance?

Does academy status improve performance? - Credit: © Royalty-Free/Corbis

There has been a huge amount of debate surrounding the Government’s decision to initially force all schools to become academies – before a remarkable U-turn on the policy.

Much has also been made about whether academy status has any impact on results.

Four secondary schools in the Weston-super-Mare area have become academies in recent years. The move ends their link with local authorities, but gives them greater independence and control over their budgets and curriculum.

But since 2011, the number of students at those new academies achieving five or more A* to C GCSEs, including English and maths, has been fluctuating according to data from SchoolDash.

A spokesman for Broadoak Mathematics and Computing College, in Weston, said the figures are not necessarily the school’s final results, as the Government statistics do not include re-sits.

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A school spokesman also told the Mercury there are ‘a number of advantages’ to being an academy.

They said: “Results all depend on intake and so many other things. There are huge benefits of being an academy.

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“We can attract a better calibre of staff and we can change how we spend our money.”

Priory Community School echoed this view and its chairman of governors, John Richardson, said: “Priory students have thrived since becoming an academy trust in 2011.

“The school’s actual GCSE results have been significantly better than the national average and even more so on the student progress measurement.

“Academy status has been good for our students and good for the school in general. It has allowed us to use the freedoms to the benefit of the students.

“Being an academy has also allowed us to gain several million pounds of funding to make our facilities top class.”

The National Union of Teachers has protested against forcing schools to convert to academies, reportedly a factor in the Government’s rethink.

Jon Reddiford, North Somerset’s division secretary, said: “This was being done [forcing schools to become academies] despite clear evidence that academies do not perform better than other schools, and in the case of many large chains, badly let down their most disadvantaged children.”

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