Brent’s academy chains perform better than council-run schools, says report

The report was published today. Picture: PA

The report was published today. Picture: PA - Credit: PA WIRE

Two academy chains which run schools in Brent are among the top performing education providers in the country, a report has revealed.

E-ACT, which runs Crest Academy in Neasden, ranked joint 17th for performance at primary school level last year in the first league table to compare English Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) and local authorities.

Meanwhle, Ark Schools, which runs the Ark Academy in Wembley and Atwood Primary Academy in Queen’s Park, came joint 17th for GCSE performance, according to today’s report from the Education Policy Institute (EPI) thinktank.

The ARK chain – one of the largest in the country – is also celebrating after the Sutton Trust last week found it had the highest number of disadvantaged pupils gaining five or more GCSEs at grade A*-C including maths and English.

Meanwhile, Labour-run Brent Council was neither top nor bottom of the EPI league tables.

It ranked joint 50th for performance at Key Stage 2 out of 218 academy trusts and local authorities, and 28th for Key Stage 4 out of 174 chains and authorities.

Cllr Wilhelmina Mitchell Murray, Brent Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said: “The council is committed to providing every child in Brent with a high-quality education at a good school.

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“In 2015, education standards were above national average in both our primary and secondary schools and currently, 91 per cent of schools in Brent are rated as good or outstanding by Ofsted.

“Every child in Brent deserves a good education and we will continue working with all of our schools in order to continue providing this.”

Brent is an anomaly compared to the national picture.

MATs topped the Institute’s league tables for performance at primary and secondary level – but the worst education providers were also academy chains, according to the report.

Overall, the research showed that there were more local authorities in the top half of the league table than the bottom, with more academy chains under-performing at both Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 level.

Jon Andrews, director for education, data and statistics, said: “The analysis we have produced casts doubt on the government’s previous policy of academising all schools.

“It is not clear what the gains from this would be in terms of school performance, not least for schools in high-performing local authorities.

“The average improvement in performance of pupils in academy groups is similar to that in local authorities.”

The Department for Education (DfE), which also published performance league tables for MATs yesterday, said in a statement: “Our research, like that of the Sutton Trust and the Education Policy Institute, highlights many impressive MATs which are raising standards for thousands of pupils.

“They are playing a vital and increasingly important role in the school system - thanks to their ability to share resources, expertise and provide support to schools that are struggling.

“Our ambition remains for all schools to become academies with more schools joining multi-academy trusts (MATs) - because we know this is an effective way to bring about sustained improvement.”