The Local Government Association commissioned NFER to investigate how performance in national Key Stage 2 and GCSE examinations in academy primary and secondary schools compares to performance in similar local authority maintained schools, to attempt to find out whether performance was better than it might have been otherwise.
This report compares the 2015 attainment results and Ofsted ratings of sponsored and converter academies with groups of maintained schools that had similar characteristics before the academies changed status. Based on the performance of existing academies, the findings suggest that making all remaining local authority-maintained schools into academies is likely to make little difference to pupil performance, at least in the first few years.
- The differences in school Key Stage 2 performance between primary sponsored and converter academies that have been open for between two and three years and groups of similar maintained schools are very small and not statistically significant. There appear to be no short-term benefits in improved school performance associated with academy status for primary schools.
- The differences in school GCSE performance between secondary sponsored and converter academies that have been open for between two and five years and groups of similar maintained schools are small and many are not statistically significant. However, the proportion of pupils achieving 5 or more A*-C grades including English & maths is 2.7 percentage points higher in sponsored academies and 1.1 percentage points higher in converter academies, each compared to similar maintained schools.
- Academies of both phases and types are significantly more likely to be rated as outstanding compared to similar maintained schools, although this finding is less robust for converter academies because many have not been re-inspected since becoming an academy.
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