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LGA - Council-maintained schools outperforming academies – new research reveals

Schools that stay with their council are more likely to perform better than those that convert to an academy, a new report for the Local Government Association has revealed.

The research found 92 per cent of council-maintained schools were rated outstanding or good by Ofsted as of 31 January 2022, compared to 85 per cent of academies that were graded since they converted.

The LGA, which represents councils, says this underlines the excellent track record of council-maintained schools, which will need to be convinced of the benefits of academisation. The Government intends to persuade all schools to become academies by 2030.
The research, which looked at school Ofsted ratings between August 2018 and January 2022, also found:

  • only 45 per cent of academies that were an academy in August 2018 were able to improve from inadequate or requires improvement to good or outstanding, compared to 56 per cent of council-maintained schools
  • 81 per cent of council-maintained schools retained their outstanding rating, compared to 72 per cent of outstanding academies that received inspections in their current form and did not inherit grades from their former maintained school status
  • 28 per cent of the same academy cohort saw their outstanding rating fall compared to 19 per cent of council-maintained schools 

It was good the Government announced in the Schools White Paper that councils will be allowed to set up their own multi-academy trusts (MATs), which recognises the important role of councils as partners in education improvement.

Ahead of a possible Education Bill in the Queen’s Speech today (10 May), the LGA is urging government to build on this and utilise the knowledge and expertise of councils in supporting schools to improve. 

By allowing councils to create their own MATs, schools that are currently maintained can continue enjoying the benefits of a strong working relationship with their council in a fully academised school system.

The LGA says government should move quickly in letting councils set up MATS to support struggling schools and quickly add capacity in areas with a lack of strong MATs.

Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said:

“Regardless of whether a school is an academy or council-maintained, what is most important is that children receive the very best education and start in life. This is something we all aspire to achieve.

“While academisation can be a positive choice in some cases, these findings raise questions over whether a one-size-fits-all approach is a guaranteed way of improving results and strengthening a school’s performance.

“Councils continue to demonstrate an excellent track record in improving schools and it is vital government uses the Queen’s Speech to take full advantage of councils’ expertise and the key role they can play as an effective education partner.

“This is something that should develop at pace, with government working closely with councils and the LGA to improve the strength and inclusiveness of existing MATs.”

Original article link: https://www.local.gov.uk/about/news/council-maintained-schools-outperforming-academies-new-research-reveals

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