Skip to main content


Volume 479: debated on Monday 1 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how many academy schools there are in England; (219890)

(2) which local education authority has the highest number of academy schools.

There are currently 83 academies open in 49 local authorities with 50 opening in the 2008/09 school year. We plan to open up to a further 80 in 2009 and 100 in 2010 bringing the total to over 310 academies.

There are three local authorities where a total of nine academies are either open or are planned—Kent where there are seven academies open and two are in feasibility; Southwark where there are also seven academies open with one in the implementation stage and one in feasibility; and, Manchester where two academies are already open and a further seven at the feasibility stage.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of changes in levels of educational attainment resulting from the establishment of academy schools. (219892)

We use a number of measures to assess the changes in educational attainment in academies.

In 2007, for the 36 academies with underperforming predecessor schools (i.e. not including former City Technology Colleges) the proportion of students gaining five or more GCSE at A*-Cs increased from 22 per cent. in 2001 to 43.7 per cent. in 2007 compared to a national increase of 12.2 points. Including English and Maths the increase is 11.2 percentage points from 14.0 per cent. to 25.2 per cent. compared to a national increase of 7.8 points.

Independent evaluations also recognise this trend. The National Audit Office report of 2007 found that GCSE performance is improving faster in academies than in other types of school. Taking account of students' personal circumstances and their prior attainment, academies’ GCSE performance is substantially better, on average, than other schools. The 2007 PwC report also said that academies’ progress in terms of student achievement has generally exceeded corresponding Improvements at a national level and amongst similar schools.

Finally, Ofsted have now inspected 24 academies. One academy—Mossbourne—has been graded as outstanding in every single respect. In terms of their overall effectiveness, four have been graded as outstanding, seven good, with the remaining 13 graded as satisfactory. Key to the future success of the academies is their leadership and management. On this indicator, six academies have been graded outstanding, 17 good and one satisfactory. That means that 96 per cent. which have good or outstanding leadership, compared to 62 per cent. for secondary schools in general.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the effects of academy schools on (a) the primary school sector in the relevant catchment area, (b) the local community and (c) the local economy. (219893)

We have not made a formal assessment of the effects on local primary schools, local communities and local economies. However, there is anecdotal evidence that academies do have a positive effect in these areas.

Many academies work closely with their feeder primary schools to help raise standards. For example, one sponsor is currently working on a joint programme between two academies and partner primaries, with involvement from the local authority and national strategies. This will involve joint training for primary and academy teachers, targeted interventions for pupils not performing at the expected level in writing, and teachers from year six of the primary schools and year seven of the academies meeting to discuss pupils’ progress and jointly agree targets for individual pupils. We are also supporting 15 academy projects that are all-through schools. In this way the academies will be able to make an impact at an earlier stage of their students’ education.

The PWC Academies Evaluation of 2007 noted that

“Independence appears to have given principals, staff and governors far greater confidence to explore new avenues of funding and new partnerships within the wider community”.

We also have good anecdotal evidence that academies engage with their communities. For example, the Capital City Academy in Brent allows local supplementary schools to use their facilities, their professional library staff have worked closely with their local library service to set up reading events, and they have become central hubs for local sports and arts partnerships. They were recently named the specialist school which had made the greatest positive impact on its local schools. An award supported by their local family of schools.

We would expect academies to have a positive effect on their local economy. A number of academies are sponsored by local employers, and their contribution, alongside the rising standards in academies should lead to a more skilled workforce in local communities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many applications for academy school status his Department is considering. (219898)

The information is as follows:

151 Academy projects are currently at various stages of development. This includes:

78 projects in feasibility

36 projects in implementation; and

39 projects for which a statement of intent has been issued, and which are now working towards the feasibility stage.

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the cost of his Department’s Academies Unit is (a) per pupil and (b) per year of operation. (220231)

The budgeted cost of Academies Group in this financial year is £4.5 million. In addition to the 83 academies already open, the Academies Group is actively engaged with developing a large number of academy projects, all of which are at different stages of development. It is therefore not meaningful to calculate a per pupil figure.