Chain effects: the impact of academy chains on low income students (first report)
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Professor Merryn Hutchings, Professor Becky Francis and Dr Robert de Vries

This report provides an in-depth look at the performance of academy chains. It finds that some chains, such as the Harris Federation, ARK Schools, and the City of London Corporation, are doing particularly well with attainment scores for disadvantaged pupils, substantially above those of state schools.

However, there are other chains that are not performing as well as state schools in improving the prospects of disadvantaged pupils. The research argues that the success or failure of chains in driving improvements can have a profound impact on the lives of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and that more needs to be done to ensure groups of schools perform well, not just individual institutions.

The report suggests Ofsted should inspect academy chains to ensure all pupils receive the best education possible. It also recommends that the Department for Education should publish data on chains’ performance across a range of measures, in addition to what they publish for individual academies. 

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Professor Merryn Hutchings, Professor Becky Francis and Dr Robert de Vries

Published by:
Sutton Trust

Date of publication:

Country of origin:

Sponsored by:
The Sutton Trust

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This is the first 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 scope of the research will make for interesting reading for both policymakers and professionals within academy chains and individual schools. It may be of particular use to academies that recognise they could do more for their disadvantaged pupils, by providing examples of good practice and evidence-based arguments for organisational change. 


Record ID:
R042 / 292
Rating Summary:

5.67 based on one vote

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Sutton Trust Chain Effects 

On 26 Apr 2016, Patrick Watson wrote:
The Sutton Trust has done more than any organisation to highlight the plight of the most disadvantaged students, to champion their cause, and to seek to improve their access to the best schools and universities. This unrelenting focus leads them to look, in this study, at how successful some big academy chains are at improving the performance of these students and narrowing the gap between them and their mainstream peers. The answer is somewhat disappointing. But to be fair the evidence base here is small, so we should treat the results with caution Some academy chains are doing well ,others poorly. Given that a focus on disadvantaged pupils was the main justification for launching the programme, in the first place, policy makers really needed to sit up, and read this report .TheTrusts' recommendations are also interesting . It wants a closer look not just at individual schools performance, but importantly that of multi academy trusts. And ,on this score at least, even considering the narrow evidence base, policy makers have appeared to listen. Regulators are now paying much more attention to MATs. Good result, and shows that evidence based reports really can help move policy.
Useful in informing practice
Useful in informing policy
Generally interesting or inspiring

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