Examining academies – Part 2: Sponsor-led

Map 1: Locations of secondary sponsor-led academies in England
Figure 1: Numbers of secondary sponsor-led academies and latest Ofsted ratings*
 
* Where no Ofsted rating is available for a school, the rating of its predecessor (prior to academy conversion) has been used instead.
** 'Requires improvement' category includes schools with the now defunct 'Satisfactory' rating. See this news story for details.
*** Academies opened January-March 2016 or with proposed opening dates in 2016-17.
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 2: GCSE value-added measure in years before and after academy conversion
Sample sizes: 586 schools in total. Sample sizes for each year range from 116 to 318.
Earlier and later years comprising of fewer than 100 data points have been omitted.
* GCSE value-added measures provided by the DfE use a median value of 1000 but have been rebased here to a median value of zero.
For more details see Figure 4 of the previous post and the paragraphs immediately preceding it.
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash analysis.
  • 'All schools': All mainstream state secondary schools in England. This isn't a particularly meaningful comparison, but at least provides a national benchmark for reference.
  • 'LA schools': The subset of 'All schools' that remain under local authority control. Since we are interested in the effects of academy conversion, it makes sense to compare our schools with those that haven't gone through that process.
  • 'Similar LA schools': A carefully selected subset of 'LA schools' that have similar pupil profiles to the '2010/12 academies'. Our academies will have pupils with particular (perhaps atypical) socioeconomic and academic characteristics, and we want as far as possible to compare them with similar schools in order to rule out such factors as the causes of any changes or differences in performance.

Figure 3: Pupil characteristics (2015*)
 
Sample sizes: All schools: 3,066-3,363. LA schools: 1,083-1,162.
Similar LA schools: 182-188. 2010/12 academies: 182-188.
(Sample sizes vary because not all data fields are available for all schools.)
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash analysis.
* 'Special educational needs' data are from 2014.
Figure 4: GCSE results (2015)
 
Sample sizes: All schools: 2,841-3,066. LA schools: 1,047-1,083.
Similar LA schools: 178-182. 2010/12 academies: 178-182.
(Sample sizes vary because not all data fields are available for all schools.)
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 5: GCSE Value-Added Measure based on best 8 GCSEs (2015)
 
Sample sizes: All schools: 2,840-3,065. LA schools: 1,047-1,083.
Similar LA schools: 178-182. 2010/12 academies: 178-182.
(Sample sizes vary because not all data fields are available for all schools.)
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 6: Changes in GCSE results (2012-2015)
 
Sample sizes: All schools: 2,550-2,783. LA schools: 1,024-1,068.
Similar LA schools: 102-106. 2010/12 academies: 102-106.
(Sample sizes vary because not all data fields are available for all schools.)
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash analysis.
  1. As already noted in the accompanying converter academies analysis, the way in which the value-added measure is calculated changed in 2014. It nevertheless remains the most consistent measure across different years.

 

Examining academies – Part 1: Converters

  • Sponsored academies: Previously underperforming schools that have been required to convert to academy status and removed from local authority control with the aim of improving their performance.
  • Converter academies: Schools that have voluntarily chosen to convert to academy status and become independent of local authority control.
  • Free schools: New academies established outside local authority control by (for example) existing schools or teachers, parent groups, educational charities or religious organisations.

Map 1: Locations of secondary converter academies in England
Figure 1: Numbers of secondary schools converted to academies and latest Ofsted ratings*
 
* Where no Ofsted rating is available for a school, the rating of its predecessor (prior to academy conversion) has been used instead.
** To end of March 2016.
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 2: Pupil characteristics (2015*)
 
Sample sizes: All schools: 3,066-3,363. LA schools: 1,083-1,162.
Similar LA schools: 762-792. 2010/11 academies: 762-792.
(Sample sizes vary because not all data fields are available for all schools.)
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash analysis.
* 'Special educational needs' data are from 2014.
Figure 3: GCSE results (2015)
 
Sample sizes: All schools: 2,841-3,066. LA schools: 1,047-1,083.
Similar LA schools: 633-762. 2010/11 academies: 633-762.
(Sample sizes vary because not all data fields are available for all schools.)
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 4: GCSE Value-Added Measure based on best 8 GCSEs (2015)
 
Sample sizes: All schools: 2,840-3,065. LA schools: 1,047-1,083.
Similar LA schools: 633-761. 2010/11 academies: 633-761.
(Sample sizes vary because not all data fields are available for all schools.)
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 5: GCSE results (2012-2015)
 
Sample sizes: All schools: 2,798-3,066. LA schools: 1,027-1,083.
Similar LA schools: 524-762. 2010/11 academies: 524-762.
(Sample sizes vary because not all data fields are available for all schools.)
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 6: Changes in GCSE results (2012-2015)
 
Sample sizes: All schools: 2,550-2,783. LA schools: 1,024-1,068.
Similar LA schools: 595-744. 2010/11 academies: 524-762.
(Sample sizes vary because not all data fields are available for all schools.)
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 7: GCSE Value-Added Measure based on best 8 GCSEs (2012-2015)
 
Sample sizes: All schools: 2,798-3,065. LA schools: 1,028-1,083.
Similar LA schools: 523-761. 2010/11 academies: 523-761.
(Sample sizes vary because not all data fields are available for all schools.)
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash analysis.
Figure 8: Changes in GCSE Value-Added Measure (2012-2015)
 
Sample sizes: All schools: 2,551-2,781. LA schools: 1,025-1,068.
Similar LA schools: 594-743. 2010/11 academies: 594-743.
(Sample sizes vary because not all data fields are available for all schools.)
Sources: Department for Education; SchoolDash analysis.
  1. Why isn't the relative value-added for all pupils zero if that's the national average by definition? Good question. As you can see from Figure 7, it was essentially zero in 2012 and 2013, but then slipped to -0.5 in 2014 and -1.3 in 2015. This is probably a statistical effect arising from the fact that, for a variety of reasons, GCSE value-added are not available for all schools. In general, they're available for somewhere between 67% and 70% of schools, with more recent years tending to be at the lower end of that range. This also serves as a reminder not to read too much into small variations in a single measure. Better instead to look for consistent trends across a range of different measures.

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