The Sutton Trust was cited in a report on academies by Liz Lightfoot in the Guardian

Colin Harris is known as a maverick. He is also the head of one of the few schools in the country to be judged outstanding in every category twice in succession.

Ofsted praised his “superb leadership”, his drive and enthusiasm and his vision for the pupils of Warren Park primary in one of the less advantaged parts of Havant, Hampshire.

Not surprisingly, other heads wanted to learn from him, and he was asked to help a struggling primary in neighbouring Portsmouth. But it never happened because the Department for Education (DfE) told him his school would have to become an academy before he could take an advisory role.


Hampshire’s school improvement service is selling more work to local academies than it did when they were maintained schools, says John Clarke, Hampshire’s deputy director of children’s services.

“We are not ideologically opposed to academy schools because we want the best for our children and we have some brilliant academies here. But we have also had a bad experience with an academy chain.” Research by respected bodies such as the National Foundation for Educational Research and the Sutton Trust has found little evidence that academy status improves the education of children, he adds.

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