Press release: Turbocharged academies programme gives better education for 350,000 children

Ahead of the National Primary School Offer Day new figures reveal that the education of 350,000 children has been transformed after their previously underperforming schools were turned into sponsored academies – where education experts and leading headteachers take over the running of the school.

Ofsted data for the latest inspection results of all schools shows that 350,000 children now study in sponsored academies rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by the schools watchdog – previously these schools suffered from chronic underperformance, blighting the life chances of young people and preventing them from achieving their full potential.

Last year 95.9% of parents received an offer at one of their top 3 preferred primary schools after the government created more than 400,000 new primary school places since 2010. With National Primary School Offer Day on Monday, the news will reassure parents that the school places available for children are better than ever before, and that the government is tackling underperforming schools faster and stronger than ever before.

The figures also reveal that record levels of children are now attending good or outstanding schools – a figure which has jumped by 1.4 million since 2010 and by 30,000 in the last four months alone.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said:

Due to the turbocharged sponsored academy programme hundreds of thousands of children are now getting a better education – a key driver in our mission to spread educational excellence everywhere.

Parents who find out on Monday which primary school their child will attend can be reassured that the government is doing more than any before to ensure all parents have the choice of a good local school.

There are now a record number of good or outstanding schools in England – a testament to the hard work of our excellent teachers and the impact of our reforms.

Our white paper reforms are the next step in achieving excellence everywhere by putting control in the hands of the teachers and school leaders who know their pupils best, alongside new measures to more swiftly tackle failing and coasting schools. We want to work constructively with the sector to deliver this and ensure standards continue to rise.

Improving underperforming schools is a key part of the government’s drive to spread educational excellence everywhere. When a school is found to be underperforming, a group of education experts with track records of success in other schools are brought in to turn the school around. The government is also backing schemes like Teach First and the National Teaching Service to get great teachers where they are most needed, so that every child has access to the education they deserve.

Due to the 2016 Education and Adoption Act, failing and coasting schools will face far swifter intervention, and the recent white paper makes clear that every school will be an academy by 2022 – allowing the best schools to spread their expertise more widely.

Examples of schools transformed by the sponsored academy programme:

Woden Primary School, Wolverhampton

Woden Primary School was an inadequate-rated local-authority school that became a sponsored academy under the Central Learning Partnership Trust (CLPT). The trust’s focus on fostering collaboration and support between all its schools saw the academy being rated ‘outstanding’ just 2 years later.

Hethersett Academy, Norfolk

Hethersett High School was in ‘special measures’ before being sponsored by the Inspiration Trust, a high-performing local sponsor, in 2013. The school’s results skyrocketed from 58% of children achieving 5 A*-C GCSEs, including English and maths, in 2013 to 74% in 2015. In January 2016 Ofsted judged the school to be outstanding in all areas.

Outwood Academy Acklam, Middlesbrough

In December 2011 Oakfields Community College was judged to be inadequate by Ofsted, and 2 years later the school had still not improved, with only 32% of children achieving 5 A*-C GCSEs, including English and maths, in 2013. Oakfields closed in 2013 to reopen under the sponsorship of Outwood Grange Academies Trust – a high-performing sponsor. Under OGAT GCSE results improved by 14 percentage points to 46%, and in 2015 increased by a further 7 points to 53%. In 2015 Ofsted judged the academy to be ‘good’ with ‘outstanding’ leadership and management.

Performance of academies:

  • 2015 results show that primary sponsored academies open for 2 years have improved their results, on average, by 10 percentage points since opening, more than double the rate of improvement in local-authority-maintained schools over the last 2 years

  • 2015 GCSE results show that secondary converter academies are performing 7.2 percentage points above the national average, with 64.3% of pupils achieving 5 or more good GCSEs, including English and maths

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