Antony Power
Posted on 14 Feb 2014

Are Academies Working?

Western Morning News. As published: 11 February 2014

The press is often full of conflicting stories about whether academies perform better than non-academies.  There is no shortage of passionate advocates both for and against academies, all of whom have apparently compelling arguments and statistics to support their views.  As one commentator recently said, you often need a good education just to follow the arguments and statistics.

The truth is that sometimes academies are better and sometimes they are not.  Unfortunately, that is not a statement that is going to grab any headlines.  Whether academies perform better overall than non-academies is not going to be clear for many years to come.  A child will spend up to 14 years in school (from 4 to 18) so understanding the impact of such a dramatic change as that of the academies programme is not going to happen overnight.

Even when we have enough data to make a fair analysis it is likely that the picture will be mixed, as it always has been.  Schools have always performed differently even when in the same local authority area and often even when in the same town.  What makes one school good and another less so will be down to a variety of factors, the most important of which is often the headteacher.

So the next time you see or hear someone saying academies are the best thing since sliced bread or that they are an unmitigated disaster, take it with a large pinch of salt.  The truth will lie somewhere between the two extremes but we can’t judge yet!

For further information, please contact Antony Power, Partner at Michelmores, by telephone on 01392 68 7713 or by email