A study by the London School of Economics has shown converting primary schools into academies has not resulted in higher performance rates.

The study used the national pupil database and examined the test results of the 270 primary schools that converted to academy status between 2010 and 2012. Test scores from 2007 to 2014 for KS2 were compared with those of schools that converted much later in 2014 to 2016.

The report showed that pupils in primary academies did no better in their KS2 SATs than those sitting the same exams at local authority schools.  This is despite primaries making changes to their curriculum and performance management of teachers.

The researchers also found that most of the more generous funding was spent on administration costs rather than being spent in the classroom.

Andrew Eyles, one of the report’s authors, said: “The results cast doubt on whether further expansion of the academies programme will be beneficial to English education.

“Given that the majority of secondary schools now have academy status, a push towards full ‘academisation’ will require the conversion of large numbers of primary schools.

“The evidence suggests primary schools have been unable to harness their freedoms as effectively as the disadvantaged secondary schools that thrived under the early sponsored academies programme.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Education responded: “The academy programme has given good schools the freedom to do what they know works best and helped to turn round under-performing schools that have previously languished under local authority control.

“Results in primary sponsored academies have been improving and we expect that trend to continue.”

Currently only a fifth of primary schools have become academies, whereas the majority of secondary schools have converted.

Could the evidence of the report discourage other schools from making the change? Do you teach in an academy? Get in touch:

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