Richard Vaughan reported on Chain Effects for the TES
Three out of four academy chains have “coasting” secondary schools and some sponsors are “harming” the prospects of disadvantaged pupils, according to research published today.
The findings raise significant doubts about the capacity of academy sponsors to take on more schools, academics say. They are urging the Department for Education to widen its pool of sponsors to meet demand.
Ministers have made conversion to academy status their chosen remedy for “failing” and “coasting” schools. But the report, published by social mobility charity the Sutton Trust, suggests that 44 per cent of existing academies would be branded as “coasting” if the government’s tough new guidance on acceptable standards were in force today.
Professor Becky Francis, who co-authored the report, said the results put the government’s reliance on academisation into question: “I think our findings throw into doubt whether there is sufficient capacity among academy sponsors to deal with the current job of improving schools, let alone if this is going to be a rapidly expanding agenda.”
She added: “Some standout successful chains are demonstrating significant improvements…but they are limited to a handful. There is a bigger number that are significantly struggling.”
Read the online version of a longer piece that appeared in the TES here.