Socialist Worker

Results show that Gove’s academy plans are ‘failing’ students

Issue No. 2288

Parents, children and campaigners from Haringey, north London marched against academies last week (Pic: Smallman )

Parents, children and campaigners from Haringey, north London marched against academies last week (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Education secretary Michael Gove used the latest school league table results to accelerate his drive to privatise schools. But his figures don’t add up.

Gove said the results, issued last week, show that 107 secondary schools are “failing” to meet the government’s minimum targets.

These are five A* to C grade GCSEs per pupil, including English and maths.

He is threatening to convert “failing” schools into academies—but in fact several are academies already.

One of the most high-profile is the City of London Academy School. This was Islington Green School before it was forced to become a privately-run academy.

Since its conversion, results have fallen and are now the lowest in Islington.

St Aldhelm’s Academy in Dorset has the lowest results in the league tables.

Just 3 percent of its students reached the government’s minimum target.

And of the academies where figures for 2011 can be compared with 2010, 27 percent saw results fall or stay the same.

League tables don’t reflect how “good” a school or its teachers are.

They reflect class.

So, the two “best performing” schools are both grammar schools that select students. And only 34 percent of students in care or on free school meals reach the government’s minimum target compared with an average of 58 percent.

Academies have often received new buildings and extra funding. And they exclude more students than state-run schools, which affects their results.

But for all this, Gove’s rhetoric that academies “raise standards” has been shown up to be a lie—by his own measure.

Terry Wrigley, editor of Improving Schools journal, looks behind the government’s league table figures at the Anti Academies Alliance site:

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