Academy trusts turn around record number of low-performing schools

The number of children in ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ Ofsted-rated academies has risen by 80,000 in the past 18 months, new research has revealed.

The finding forms part of a new research review into the performance of sponsored academy schools in England and Wales.

Sponsored academy schools are typically under-performing local authority-run schools which have been matched with a reputable academy trust to drive up standards.

And the scheme has so far proven a success. The research shows that seven in 10 under-performing council-run schools, that have converted to become sponsored academies, are now rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted, the school standards regulator.

Recent research has also found that standards typically rise faster in sponsored academies than in similar council-run schools.

Correspondingly, the figures show that 380,000 children are now studying in high-performing sponsored academies, compared to 300,000 in December 2017.

The finding is largely replicated across the whole education sector, with the proportion of children studying in good or outstanding schools rising from 66 per cent in August 2010 to 85 per cent in March 2019.

Commenting on the figures, Education Secretary Damian Hinds said: “Academies have been at the heart of reforms that have revolutionised education and driven up standards since 2010, and this is just the latest evidence that they are leading the way in turning around some of the most challenging schools.

“It should not be forgotten that academy trusts are charitable institutions, giving back to their communities, and making a huge difference to the futures of thousands of young people – the figures today prove this point loud and clear, and it is important that we tell their stories.”

The latest statistics show that more than 8,300 schools in England have become an academy or opened as a free school since 2010, meaning more than 50 per cent of children are now in non-council-run education.

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