It has been well documented that the sponsored academies programme has found great success through transforming the fortunes of some of the most challenging schools.
Currently, there are 912 sponsored academies (alongside 2,532 converter academies). Back in May 2010, there were just 203 sponsored academies.
Sponsors are appointed to take these struggling schools out of local authority control and turn them around. The majority of schools which have become sponsored academies are now flourishing with the increased freedom they have which is partly due to their sponsors.
Generally, it has been found that:
- GCSE results in sponsored secondary academies are improving more rapidly than in other secondary schools.
- the National Audit Office says academies have achieved measurable improvements in pupil attendance, reduced the number of NEETs, and displayed an obvious increase in performance compared to the schools they replaced.
However, in the small number of cases where an academy is not performing well, ministers have stated that they will hold the trust to account.
In cases of sustained poor academic performance at an academy, ministers may send out a pre-warning notice to the relevant trust, demanding immediate action for substantial improvements, or they will be given a warning notice. If improvement does not follow after that, further action – ultimately leading to a change of sponsor – could be taken.
Since the start of the 2011 to 2012 academic year, pre-warning letters have been written to 25 academy trusts about 34 academies. In 2 cases, these letters have been followed up with warning notices. The list of notices is available to download.
No academy was issued with a pre-warning letter or a warning notice before 2011.
Academies have responded extremely well to the challenge – on average at the 8 academies issued with a pre-warning notice in 2011 to 2012, the proportion of pupils achieving 5 or more GCSEs including English and Maths at C or better improved by an average of 16 per cent in 2012. The 2013 results will be reported in January 2014 but are expected to show further increase.
They expect all sponsors issued pre-warning letters to respond in similar fashion.
At Nicklin we are committed to providing support through practical solutions that academies need in order to meet their regulatory and financial requirements for success. Our expertise in this area means that academies that need to, can focus on improving their performance where necessary. For more information on the services we provide for academies, please contact us.