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News - July/August 2017

Outcomes for disadvantaged pupils ‘vary massively’ across academy chains

Outcomes for disadvantaged pupils ‘vary massively’ across academy chains

DISADVANTAGED pupils who have fallen behind at primary schools make more progress by GCSE in sponsored academies in chains than in other types of school, according to analysis published by the Sutton Trust. However, those high attainers who are in the top 20% at the end of primary school make less progress in these academies says the education charity.

The research, Chain Effects 2017, by Professors Merryn Hutchings and Becky Francis, analysed the performance of disadvantaged students - those entitled to the pupil premium - in academy chains from 2014-2016.

The researchers found that, on average, academy chains do better for their disadvantaged pupils with low prior attainment. They identified 26 chains out of 48, more than half, where disadvantaged pupils with lower grades at the end of primary schools made more progress than in state schools generally. But there were only eight chains where poorer pupils with top grades at primary schools made more progress than the national average.

To support pupils with high attainment in academies, the Sutton Trust is calling for the Government to create a fund to support successful initiatives for high attainers from disadvantaged backgrounds, and to focus on supporting disadvantaged pupils of all attainment levels through the pupil premium.

The report highlights how outcomes for disadvantaged pupils vary massively across academy chains. Poorer pupils in 10 out of 48 chains performed above the national average on key measures of 2016 attainment for disadvantaged pupils, including four chains - City of London, Diocese of London, Harris and Outwood Grange - which were significantly above the average. However, in 29 of the 48 chains analysed, disadvantaged pupils performed below the national average for all state schools.

Over the last year, the Government has been more willing to move underperforming academies from their chains and Regional Schools Commissioners have been actively re-brokering academies.

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