Dr Phillip Kirby, Professor Becky Francis and Professor Merryn Hutchings
This is the second in a series of reports from the Sutton Trust that analyses academies’ effectiveness at helping the most disadvantaged pupils, focusing particularly on sponsored academy chains.
The report finds that, in comparison with the national figures for all secondary schools and academies (mainstream schools), sponsored academies have lower inspection grades and are twice as likely to be below standard. In 2014, 44% of the academies in the analysed group were below the government’s new coasting level, and 26 of the 34 chains had one or more schools in this group.
The report recommends that the Department for Education (DfE) should expand its pool of school improvement providers beyond academy sponsors, and develop new school-led trusts and federations, particularly in order to address the growing number of coasting schools. It further recommends that new chains should not be allowed to expand until they have a track record of success in their existing academies.
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