A guide to the evidence on academies
EdCentral community rating

Add to my reading list
David Sims, Hilary Grayson and Karen Wespieser

This report presents the findings from a review of evidence on the performance of academy schools. Drawing on 13 key studies, which are summarised at the end, it sets out to aid understanding of current research on academies.

It finds that an overall view of academies’ performance is complex, with no conclusive evidence that academy status improves the performance of primary schools, and only limited evidence of the impact it has on secondary schools. Though there are some notable improvements at secondary level, there is still large variation in the GCSE results of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The authors suggest that future research should explore the performance of secondary academies over a longer timeframe to more accurately gauge their impact, and that there is a great need for research into parents’ knowledge of academies and the information available to them. 

In listing research, EdCentral makes no judgment or recommendation as to its quality, validity or methodology and none should be inferred. Through peer ratings left by education practitioners, EdCentral’s aim is to support the development of a repository of shared knowledge and experience.

*   Please note that your reading list can only be saved permanently if you are logged into your account.

David Sims, Hilary Grayson and Karen Wespieser

Published by:
National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER)

Date of publication:

Country of origin:

Sponsored by:

CPD opportunities:

Outlining various research into academy performance, this report will might be useful for academy leaders or policy makers keen to draw on empirical evidence.  


Record ID:
R063 / 271
Rating Summary:

6.33 based on one vote

Useful in informing practice
Useful in informing policy
Generally interesting or inspiring

Evidence on Academies impact 

On 26 Apr 2016, Patrick Watson wrote:
NFER is good at literature reviews and the big picture, cutting through wads of evidence so we can see the wood from the trees. This guide to the evidence helps us steer through claim and counter claim about the impact that academies have had on students performance. Those who support academies tend to cherry pick the positives, and there are some, while those opposed do the same but with the negatives. The point about the academies programme is that its gone through at least too phases and the goal posts have shifted along the way, so comparing like with like is hard. NFER explains the challenges and comes to a fair, balanced conclusion, based on the available evidence. Who could ask for more?
Useful in informing practice
Useful in informing policy
Generally interesting or inspiring

Start a discussion

Back to search results   |   New search   |   View my reading list   |   Print this page

EdCentral Logo