A special paper from the Centre for Economic Performance has analysed the success of those schools that have converted to academies.
The paper concludes that schools that converted to academies between 2002 and 2007 improved their overall GCSE results by further raising the achievement of pupils in the top half of the ability distribution, and in particular pupils in the top 20%. In contrast, they found little evidence that academies helped pupils in the bottom 20% of the ability distribution. For schools that have converted to academies recently (in 2008 and 2009) they found no evidence of improvement at all.
The authors suggest that new ‘rules of the game’ should be designed to make sure that schools have incentives to focus on the most disadvantaged pupils and are held accountable for their progress.
Source: School Structure, School Autonomy and the Tail (2013), The London School of Economics and Political Science.