An Independent editorial supports some key recommendations from a new Sutton Trust report on academy chains.
If the Government’s educational policy is really as unideological and fact-based as ministers make out, then the latest study into the performance of England’s academy schools makes for uncomfortable reading, indicating that the facts do not fit official policy. Some academy chains are “highly ineffective” at improving the prospects of disadvantaged pupils, according to the Sutton Trust, a charity dedicated to promoting social mobility, a commodity in short supply in contemporary Britain. The trust supplies ample empirical evidence that suggests reform of academies is urgently required to make them, in that other phrase so beloved of politicians, “fit for purpose”.
Forget the vested interests, the unions, the education “Blob’” and a succession of ministers guided apparently only by instinct alone; on this objective assessment, academies are failing at what they are supposed to do. They were designed to provide a ladder of opportunity for children from poor backgrounds who possessed real academic ability, a sort of modernised version of the old grammar schools. The freedoms they were granted from local-authority control and Ofsted inspection were intended to give heads and governors the flexibility to generate academic excellence.
What is the reality?
Read the full article on the Independent website.