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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Prof Stephen Gorard

Gorard, S. (2014). The link between Academies in England, pupil outcomes and local patterns of socio-economic segregation between schools. Research Papers in Education 29(3): 268-284.

Author(s) from Durham


This paper considers the pupil intakes to Academies in England, and their attainment, based on a re-analysis of figures from the Annual Schools Census 1989–2012, the Department for Education School Performance Tables 2004–2012 and the National Pupil Database. It looks at the national picture, and the situation for Local Education Authorities, and also examines in more detail the trajectories of the three original Academies. It confirms earlier studies in finding no convincing evidence that Academies are any more (or less) effective than the schools they replaced or are in competition with. The prevalence of Academies in any area is strongly associated with local levels of SES segregation, and this is especially true of the more recent Converter Academies. Converter Academies, on average, take far less than their fair share of disadvantaged pupils. Sponsor-led Academies, on the other hand, tend to take more than their fair share. Their profiles are so different that they must no longer be lumped together for analysis as simply ‘Academies’. Academies are not shown to be the cause of local SES segregation. Instead, they are merely more likely to appear in areas that already have inequitable school mixes. This means, of course, that Academies are not helping reduce segregation (as was one of their original purposes) or increase social justice in education, and the paper concludes that homogeneous Maintained schools should be preferred for this purpose.


Special Issue: Academies, Free Schools and Social Justice