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ERIC Number: ED559231
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jul
Pages: 50
Abstractor: ERIC
Chain Effects 2015: The Impact of Academy Chains on Low-Income Students
Hutchings, Merryn; Francis, Becky; Kirby, Philip
Sutton Trust
Academies were started in 2000 to alter the fortunes of failing schools that disproportionately served students from some of the nation's poorest communities. By helping these schools with the support of philanthropic, educational and business partners, the intention was to improve the lives of young people from the least privileged backgrounds by ensuring they gained better exam results, and improved opportunities for higher education and work. This is the second in a series of reports that analyses their effectiveness at helping the most disadvantaged pupils, focusing particularly on sponsored academy chains. This report examines academy chains--those academies that share a sponsor. More specifically, the report is interested in the performance of secondary academies within chains, especially those that have been under the control of a single sponsor for some time. Analysis of the research given in this report reveals six key findings: (1) The sponsored academies in this analysis have lower inspection grades, and are twice as likely to be below the floor standard. In 2014, 44% of the academies in the analysis group were below the government's new "coasting level" and 26 of the 34 chains that were analysed had one or more schools in this group; (2) There is very significant variation in outcomes for disadvantaged pupils, both between and within chains. Some chains continue to achieve impressive outcomes for their disadvantaged students against a range of measures, demonstrating the transformational impact on life chances that can be made. However, a larger group of low-performing chains are achieving results that are not improving and may be harming the prospects of their disadvantaged students; (3) The longitudinal analysis suggests an exacerbation of this trend. The contrast between the best and worst chains has increased in 2014. Some chains with high attainment for disadvantaged pupils have improved faster than the average for schools with similar 2012 attainment. In contrast, the lowest performing chains did significantly less well over the period 2012-14 than schools with similarly low 2012 attainment; (4) Although results for young people with low prior attainment have generally fallen across all school types, on average the fall was less dramatic for chains than for other types of school, and a few chains succeeded in significantly improving the attainment of this group. However, half the chains did less well than the mainstream school average (the average of all state-funded schools and academies); (5) Since 2012, the academy chains in this study have reduced their use of equivalent qualifications, but their use in sponsored academies remained above the national average in 2014. On average, they still underperformed on the EBacc measure; nevertheless a few chains strongly outperformed other school types on the EBacc, and several more had dramatically improved results against this measure. More than half the chains exceeded the national average figure for pupils making progress in English; and (6) When analysed against a range of Government indicators on attainment, a majority of the chains still underperform the mainstream average on attainment for their disadvantaged pupils. As in 2012, while some of those below the average are continuing to improve, others are not. The following appendices are included: (1) Performance indicators; and (2) Author biographies.
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Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Sutton Trust (England)
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom