Signifcant growth in Academies and the challenges they bring

In a speech delivered yesterday (25th April) at the National College for Teaching and Leadership, the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, praised the professionalism and hard work of the teaching profession and defended the academies movement.  Mr Gove quoted significant improvements in exam results at many academies over the last two years.

Statistics recently published show that there are now 1.7 million, out of a total of 3.2 million pupils, being taught in secondary academies.  This equates to 54% of all secondary school pupils.  There are then a further 300,000 pupils currently being taught in primary academies.  This reflects the significant increase in the number of academies since the coalition government came to power.  Over the two year period, the number of academies has increased from 203 to 2,886.

It is not all good news for the government, however, as the Department for Education (DfE) has overspent on its budget for academies in the same period by approximately £1 billion  (14% of its original budget).  There is also criticism of the £2.5 billion  per annum being spent on the pupil premium (£900 per pupil).  Many schools across the country have failed to improve the performance of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.  The percentages of pupils from disadvantage backgrounds failing to achieve 5 GCSE's at A* to C ranges from 35% in the best performing areas to 58% in the worst areas.  Surprisingly, many of the schools achieving the poorest results in this respect are often those from the more affluent parts of the country with generally overall better results according to the school league tables.

The academies movement is a very rapidly evolving part of the education sector and there are clearly many positive results but also many areas that "could do better!". If your school is thinking of converting or has converted to Academy status then please do not hesitate to contact Mitchell Charlesworth's specialist education team to discuss any finance or accounting issue you may have.

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