Academies report published
Posted on 10/01/2013
An independent report, published today by the Academies Commission, has outlined key priorities to ensure the success of academies in the future. Professor Becky Francis from the Department of Education and Professional Studies at King’s is Director of the Commission.
The Commissioners recognise three imperatives for the further development of the Government’s academies programme:
- A forensic focus on teaching and its impact on pupil’s learning
- A guarantee that an academised system is fair and equally accessible to children and young people from all backgrounds
- Greater accountability to pupils, parents and other stakeholders
Professor Francis said: 'There is great work happening in many academies but with their greater independence there is a risk that the roots of success are not properly understood and shared as effectively they might be. There needs to be a much tighter focus on implementation to ensure the academies programme achieves its promise to improve children's education across the board. Converter academies – those Outstanding and good schools that now make up around three-quarters of all academies – need to be held to account on their commitments to work with other local schools to ensure improvement.'
Set up by the Pearson Think Tank and the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce), the Commission aims to examine the implications of the expansion of the academies programme under the Coalition Government. According to the report, in May 2010 there were 203 academies and by November 2012 there were 2456. This dramatic rise in the number of schools opting for academy status does not necessarily represent a ‘panacea for school improvement’, warns the report.
Whilst acknowledging the ‘much-needed vitality’ provided by the introduction of academies and a series of ‘stunning successes’, the report suggests that improvement across all academies has not been strong enough to transform the life chances of children from the poorest families.
The report highlights the development of good teaching and learning ‘at the heart of improvement’ and suggests that a fully academised school system is best seen as a community of schools, each independent but working best if connected to the rest of the system.
Evidence for the report was gathered through written and oral evidence sessions, focus groups and workshops and surveys, from practitioners, parents, students and other educational experts.
The report’s launch was marked by a keynote event at the RSA, with a speech from Christine Gilbert, Chair of the Academies Commission.
Notes to editors
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