The number of academies – schools funded directly and independently of their Local Authority – has increased exponentially in recent years. The current Government is committed to a rapid expansion of the academies programme, and the number of academies has risen from 200 in 2010 to over 5,000 today.
Since 2014, the Sutton Trust has published a yearly report titled Chain Effects, which analyses school performance data to review how well sponsored academy chains support their disadvantaged pupils.
Successive reports have found that while some chains have seen significant improvement, many academy chains still struggle to improve outcomes for their most disadvantaged students.
The Sutton Trust believes that academy chains should not be allowed to expand until they demonstrate a track record of success for their students, a sentiment echoed in April 2016 by the Secretary of State for Education. Our research shows that some academies are not serving disadvantaged students as well as they could be.