Council-run schools ‘outperform’ academies and must retain freedom – LGA

Academies are less likely than council-controlled schools to be rated good or outstanding by Ofsted, the LGA has argued using new figures.

LGA analysis of the grades achieved by schools under the more rigorous Ofsted inspection framework launched in October 2012 shows that 81% of council-maintained schools are rated as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’, compared to 73% of academies and 79% of free schools.

It also showed that 98% of council-maintained schools improved in their first Ofsted inspection after being rated ‘inadequate’ compared to 88% of academies.

Cllr Roy Perry, chair of the LGA's children and young people board, said: “These figures clearly demonstrate that councils are education improvement partners, rather than barriers to delivering the high quality education that our children deserve. The government needs to recognise councils' role in education improvement, and that imposing structural changes on schools is not the best way to improve education.”

Cllr Perry added that schools should be given the freedom to choose whether to become academies or stay under the control of local authorities, and that the government should also address “more pressing issues” such as the shortage in qualified teachers.

The LGA has consistently opposed the government’s proposals, laid out in its Educational Excellence Everywhere white paper, to turn every school into an academy, and called instead for a “constructive, informed and inclusive debate about the best way to deliver educational excellence”.

After the National Audit Office warned last week that the Department for Education lack clear figures on how much they are spending on academies, both the County Councils Network and the Conservative-run West Sussex Council stated their opposition to the plan.

Despite the growing opposition, education secretary Nicky Morgan did not announce any changes to the plans during a questions session in the House of Commons yesterday.

She said: “I am not going to be the secretary of state who missed the opportunity to make sure we had a really good, strong school system across the country, offering the best possible education for all our pupils. I am not going to leave the job half done; we are going to finish this job.”

Jo Griffin, lecturer at Dudley College and chair of the Board of Directors at St Nicholas Owen Catholic Multi Academy Company, wrote for the most recent edition of PSE on the process of academisation.

(Top image: education secretary Nicky Morgan, c. Joe Giddens from PA Wire)


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