Academy schools get lower Ofsted ratings, research shows

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Schools that do not convert to become academies are more likely to get higher ratings from Ofsted, research shows.

Results from the Local Government Association (LGA) showed that 92% of local authority (LA) schools had been rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted since January 31, compared to 85% of schools in the academy noted since their conversion.

In a search of Ofsted grades between August 2018 and January 2022, the LGA found that only 45% of academy schools improved their grade from ‘inadequate’ or ‘needs improvement’ to ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ between 2018 and 2022, compared to 56% of board-run schools.

It revealed that 81% of Los Angeles schools retained their “outstanding” rating, compared to 72% of academies that were inspected in their current form and did not inherit the ratings from their former Los Angeles school status. .

Nearly three in 10 — 28% — of the same academy cohort saw their outstanding grade drop, compared to 19% of Los Angeles schools.

The LGA said it was “good” that the schools white paper said boards would be able to set up their own Multi-Academy (MAT) trusts, and the association urged the government “to build on that and to use knowledge and expertise”. tips to help schools improve.

“By allowing boards to create their own MATs, schools that are currently maintained can continue to enjoy the benefits of a strong working relationship with their board in an all-university school system,” the LGA said.

The government has said it wants all schools to have joined or be in the process of joining a MAT by 2030.

Anntoinette Bramble, Chair of the LGA Children and Young People’s Council, said: “Whether a school is an academy or a council, what matters most is that children get the best education and start in life. It is something we all aspire to achieve.

“While academization may be a positive choice in some cases, these results raise the question of whether a one-size-fits-all approach is a guaranteed way to improve outcomes and strengthen a school’s performance.

“Boards continue to have an excellent record of improving schools and it is essential that the government use the Queen’s Speech to take full advantage of the expertise of boards and the key role they can play. as an effective partner in education.

“This is something that should grow rapidly, with government working closely with councils and the LGA to improve the strength and inclusiveness of existing MATs.”

Kevin Courtney, co-general secretary of the NEU teachers’ union, said the LGA had made a ‘significant intervention on the day of the Queen’s Speech, when the schools white paper is expected to be the centerpiece of the legislation’ .

He added that the research called into question “the government’s desire to force all schools to join a multi-academy trust”.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “The evidence cited by the Local Government Association does not take into account that many schools will join trusts to remedy historical underperformance, which may take several years, or longer. a cycle of Ofsted inspections.

“Our data from the past decade shows that strong academic trusts can transform underperforming schools. More than 7 in 10 schools that became academies due to under-performance in inspections when they were local authority run schools now have a good or exceptional Ofsted rating.

“That’s why we are opening up new avenues for schools to join a strong academic trust, including working with local authorities to enable them to establish trusts for the first time. Schools will benefit from the trust’s support in all areas, from teacher training to the curriculum, allowing them to focus on what parents and children want and need – great teaching for every child.

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