Saturday, 19 September 2015

Nick Gibb 'wrong' to attribute increase in children in 'good or outstanding schools' to academisation

By Henry Stuart republished from original article on Local Schools Network
This is another really useful article by Nick which shows how the government misleads on the basics.

 Government ministers have repeatedly claimed that one million more children are in "good" or "outstanding" schools, and that this is a direct result of their academies policy. For example Nick Gibb, speaking at the consideration of the Education and Adoption Bill on Friday 11th September, said "there are 1,100 sponsored academies that started life as under-performing schools, which is a colossal achievement that has led directly to over 1 million [more] children being taught in “good” or “outstanding” schools." (col 208)

Analysis of Ofsted Data View does indicate that it is true that one million more pupils are in schools rated "good" or "outstanding" and it is clearly the case that many schools have been converted to academies. But a basic analysis of the data suggests it was not academisation that caused any improvement.

Vast majority of improved primaries are not academies
78% of the increase has been in primary schools, where only a small minority of schools have become academies. Indeed the latest Ofsted dataset indicates that there are 167 sponsored academy primary schools that are currently rated "good" or "outstanding". Assuming these have the same average size as primaries overall (411 pupils), this gives a total of 68,537 children.

Extra pupils in "good" or "outstanding" primaries           996,604
Pupils in "good" or "outstanding" sponsored primaries    68,637
% in sponsored academies                                                  7%

So for every 100 extra pupils in "good" or "outstanding" primaries, 93 were in schools that were not sponsored academies. The percentage of primary schools that are "good" or "outstanding" has gone from 67% in 2010 to 82% in 2015 but the vast majority of this improvement has been due to improvements in maintained schools, not in sponsored academies. Nick Gibb is entirely wrong to say the improvement results "directly" from the performance of sponsored academies.

Ratings for primaries are improving but more secondaries are being rated "inadequate"
The Ofsted annual report of 2014 made note of the fact that primary schools were continuing to improve but that this was not the case for secondaries (where the majority of schools are not academies). Indeed there is a worrying increase in the number rated "inadequate":

“Children in primary schools have a better chance than ever of attending an effective school. Eighty-two per cent of primary schools are now good or outstanding, which means that 190,000 more pupils are attending good or outstanding primary schools than last year. However, the picture is not as positive for secondary schools: only 71% are good or outstanding, a figure that is no better than last year. Some 170,000 pupils are now in inadequate secondary schools compared with 100,000 two years ago.” (Ofsted annual report 2014 p8)

I have noted here that sponsored secondaries are far more likely to remain or become "inadequate" than similar maintained schools, and here that sponsored academies lead to slower school improvement. The concern is that the direct effect of sponsored academies has actually been this substantial increase in secondaries rated "inadequate".

The data indicates that the Education Bill, in forcing all "inadequate" or "coasting" schools to become sponsored academies, is likely to substantially increase the number of pupils in "inadequate" schools.

Data Notes

Data on pupil numbers come from DfE for 2010 and 2015.

Data on schools overall Ofsted ratings come from Ofsted Data View.

The Ofsted dataset on ratings for all schools (June 2015), from which the numbers of Sponsored academies that are "good" or "outstanding" were calculated can be found here.

My calculations indicate that there are 997,000 more children in "good" or "outstanding" primaries in 2015 than in 2010 and 274,000 in secondaries, giving a total of 1.27 million. However 275,000 of the extra primary pupils are due to the increase in pupil numbers. If we take these out, the total is 999,000 extra pupils in "good" or "outstanding" schools, effectively the one milliion that the government claims.

1 comment:

Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group said...

In citing what Nick Gibb has said, I would prefer it if the author had written, "Nick Gibb MP ..."

Yet on the matter of political spin -- which is not exclusive to the Tories -- I believe it essential to question constantly the terms of reference used. Eg, in Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP: speech on work, health and disability, IDS asserts:

"Let me start with the last Parliament.

"It was clear from the situation we inherited in 2010, that something had gone very wrong in this country....

"We lived in a country where….
• nearly one in five households had no one working;
• the number of households where no one had ever worked had nearly doubled;
• 1.4 million people had been on benefits for most of the previous decade.
• And where close to half of all households in the social rented sector had no one in work..."

The period between the last previous Tory Government prior to 2010 and the 2010 Tory-Lib Dem coalition was 13 years which had seen a huge explosion or incursion of personal computing into the workplace requiring a great deal more literacy. That would have made it much more difficult for people who had been sidelined as 'nowhere near exam-ready' to find any waged employment to enter after leaving school. And those who had been in waged employment despite very low literacy competence before 1997 but found themselves 'unemployed' in 2010 would have a much harder life struggle as in the case of a North London 'jobcentre customer' helped by Kate Belgrave as outlined in her blog piece Trying to find a job when you struggle to read and write.

Of course, there is a lot more to life and learning than 'making the grade' set by others. Yet obsession about SATS -- Standardised Assessment TestS -- gears people desperate to 'fit in' to be less critical of the agendas of those who are doing the judging. What are the criteria by which Ofsted makes its judgements, and are those criteria in any way moulded by disability equality matters as laid out in, say, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities?

Regarding 'households', home owning families' perceptions have been largely misled by smear stories and government spin. Whereas the prevailing narrative has focused on teenage mums, the strain of raising disabled children with too little support or being a disabled parent has produced more single parent families and thus more 'doubling the number of households' than single parent families, according to information from Gingerbread, the single parent families' charity.

And regarding 'households in the social rented sector [that] had no-one in work' how many of those were lone householders? And for a Secretary of State who pays lip-service to 'protecting the most vulnerable', IDS shows remarkable ignorance regarding the terms and conditions by which people have been allocated spaces in the social rented sector. What kind of school did he go to, that he was not taught how to make properly reasoned judgements?

I recall an anecdote that when Beaverbrook took over Express Newspapers, someone said to him, "Why pay such a fortune on such a tatty little rag?" To which Beaverbrook replied, "To you it may be a tatty little rag, but to me I've bought a million minds." Is that the kind of readership that Ofsted wants?

Dude Swheatie of Kwug