Academies and free schools

Academy myths – attainment and autonomy  is designed for printing and distribution at meetings. It links to a detailed and fully referenced information file.  These resources were developed soon after the 2016 White Paper.


A brief introduction can be found in three NUT Edufacts

The best source on local campaigns is the Anti-Academies Alliance website, including its Academy Watch page. The site contains notes on research and contact details for local groups.

Secretary of State Nicky Morgan’s complacent response to MPs’ growing concerns is highlighted in Education minister evasive about academy problems (24 March 2015)

Attainment and school improvement

Our post (March 2015) Sponsored academy myth in shreds summarises evidence of the failure to improve attainment. It includes links to key research studies.

Financial issues,  including for-profit schools

Financial irregularities are discussed in Nigel Gann’s Not for profit? (or the longer version in Forum). Edufacts has a note on Profit-making schools.


The problems of various kinds of academy ‘sponsorship’, including universities and large chains, are examined in Sponsorship mess threatens children’s future (posted 26 March 2015). As an interesting case study, this post also outlines the process whereby a Government insider was handed a school despite parental opposition.

Admissions (including academic or social selection)

The impact of academies, free schools and foundation schools in a nominally comprehensive area are examined in a case study of Blackburn: Free schools increase educational apartheid. See also Free schools – where next? (Rebecca Morris)

Primary academies

Government claims that primary academies are improving faster than other primary schools are refuted by Henry Stewart (Local Schools Network) and Warwick Mansell (for Cambridge Primary Review Trust).

Free schools

Flawed ‘research’ from a Conservative think tank used to justify the expansion of free schools was exposed in our post of 9 March 2015.

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