Are Academies Meeting Government Achievement Targets? A systematic appraisal exploring educational achievement in Academies in England from 2002-2010


  • Andrea Cole
  • Linda Barlow-Meade
  • David Littlefair



This study focuses upon the Academies Programme in England from 2002-2010. From one perspective the Academies Programme is a straightforward attempt to increase educational achievement. And yet, from its inception the Programme has been controversial, principally because of a private ownership ideology being introduced into state schools. The findings of this study suggest three areas of significance. Firstly, evidence suggests that Academies per se cannot be said to improve academic achievements in line with government expectations. Even where an increase has been shown, it usually refers to schools that were already performing well before becoming Academies. Secondly, alternative evidence shows that Academies do appear to be reaching government achievement targets. The problem here is that the data can be interpreted as flawed, because much of the research is government commissioned and it is in their interests to arrive at 'improvements'. The third strand is concerned with the time frame under investigation. Between 2002- 2007, schools which became Academies often had a diminishing Free School Meals (FSM) intake and an increasing number of excluded pupils whose performance was poor, thus affecting a school's overall grades.