‘The government’s plan to force all schools to become academies has come under further attack with research which suggests that council-maintained schools outperform academies at inspection.
Analysis by the Local Government Association (LGA) has found that 86% of local authority schools are rated good or outstanding by the schools watchdog, Ofsted, compared with 82% of academies and 79% of free schools.
Looking only at data drawn from the new, more rigorous Ofsted inspection framework introduced in 2012, the LGA says the figures are even more pronounced, with 81% of council-maintained schools rated good or outstanding, compared with 73% of academies and 79% of free schools.
The LGA claims the research shows that “inadequate” council-maintained schools are more likely to improve if they stay with their local authority, rather than convert to an academy – 98% of council schools improved in their first Ofsted inspection after being rated “inadequate” compared with 88% of academies.’ - The Guardian
‘Only hours after the publication of the figures, Nicky Morgan told Parliament that she would "finish the job" of all-out academisation and would not leave it "half-done."
Council leaders are now calling on the government to withdraw plans to force all schools to become academies by 2022, as outlined in its recent White Paper.
Their call comes on the same day The Times reports that education secretary Nicky Morgan is preparing to make a U-turn over universal academisation in the light of growing Tory opposition to the plans.
The paper reports that she could make a series of concessions, including allowing the best-performing councils to run their own academy chains and allowing councils to direct academies to expand in order to provide additional school places.
Ms Morgan would not be drawn on any planned reversals of policy, but told MPs she was "looking forward" to continuing conversations with MPs on the issue.’ - TES
‘The academies plan, set out last month, has drawn criticism from teachers, parents and unions over concerns about quality.
The ATL, NUT and NASUWT unions have all opposed the academisation plans, while teachers and supporters have marched in cities across the country in protest.
The Government described the LGA's figures as "completely misleading" and said they failed to acknowledge the "real progress" being made in turning the worst performing state-run schools into sponsored academies.
A Department for Education spokesman said: "It's thanks to such reforms that 1.4 million more children are now learning in 'good' or 'outstanding' schools compared with 2010.
"The latest inspection results show 350,000 children now study in sponsored academies rated 'good' or 'outstanding' - previously these schools suffered from chronic underperformance, blighting the life chances of young people and preventing them from achieving their full potential.
"And academies have made substantial progress with results in primary sponsored academies open for two years improving at around double the rate of maintained schools over the same period.
"For secondary sponsored academies, we're seeing recently opened schools bettering their performance year-on-year." - BT.com