By Sadie Robinson
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Privatisation does not stop ‘failure’ – but Tories keep pushing academy myths

This article is over 9 years, 10 months old
The Tories are privatising schools in the name of improving education. But their rhetoric has fallen apart.
Issue 2294

The Tories are privatising schools in the name of improving education. But their rhetoric has fallen apart.

Last week the government announced plans to hand around 100 primary schools in England to private sponsors from September.

It claims this is because the schools are “failing”.

Yet even the government’s own report, Sponsored Academies: Statistics, shows that academies don’t automatically generate good results—in fact the reverse.

It says, “The proportion of pupils achieving 5+ good grades at GCSE or equivalent including English and maths was 12 percentage points below average in academies open for more than a year.

“This gap grew to 30 points when only GCSE exams, rather than equivalents, are counted.”

Some academies are defined as “failing” in the league tables or have falling results.

St Aldhelm’s Academy in Dorset was at the bottom of the school league tables for 2011.

Just 3 percent of students there reached the government’s minimum target of five good grades in GCSEs including English and maths.


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

Academy schools offer more courses classed as GCSE-equivalent than state-run schools. Some are counted as equivalent to several GCSEs.

For instance, a level 2 BTEC in horse care is worth four GCSEs at grade C or higher.

Education expert Terry Wrigley has compared the results of 269 academies in the 2011 school league tables to those of state-run secondary schools.

He looked at what proportion of students got five good grades, including good grades in English and maths.

This figure is 59 percent across all schools when considering both GCSEs and GCSE equivalents.

If the GCSE-equivalent courses are removed, the figure drops to 53 percent.

But in academies, removing GCSE-equivalent courses means results plunging from 50 percent to 38 percent.

So Tory education secretary Michael Gove is lying about academies. They don’t improve education. They aren’t about improving education.

They are about stealing chunks of public services and resources to hand to private firms who want to profit from them.

For more on academies and their results go to

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