Academies under-performing on GCSEs

NFER have released a new report analysing the progress between Key Stage 2 and GCSE of pupils attending academy schools and non-academy schools. The authors found that in 2011 and 2012 pupils at academy schools achieved, on average, higher attainment outcomes and made more progress between KS2 and KS4 than those at non-academy schools when taking into account both GCSEs and non-GCSE qualifications (eg, NVQs).

However, analysis of the 2012 data excluding non-GCSE qualifications show that academy schools (that had held that status for more than two years) had average GCSE scores that were significantly lower than non-academy schools. The authors say that this may indicate alternative entry policies into GCSE and non-GCSE qualifications, or that pupils in academies perform particularly well in non-GCSE subjects.

Longitudinal analysis of GCSE outcomes from 2007 to 2012 showed no significant improvement in the rate of improvement of GCSE results for academy schools over and above the rate of improvement in all schools.

The research took into account other school level factors that may have been associated with a variation in progress, including the proportion of pupils receiving free school meals and with special educational needs, as well as geographical location.

Source: Analysis of Academy School Performance in the 2011 and 2012 GCSEs (2013), NFER.

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