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More primary schools paired with academy sponsors

06/01/2014 Joanna
The government has announced that 400 primary schools were paired up with academies last year in a drive to boost attainment.

Some 200 of the weakest primary schools became sponsored academies in 2012. Following this, the government pledged to sponsor 400 primaries failing to reach targets.

Academies now sponsor 645 primary schools, helping them to tackle issues of underperformance. This has led to the number of academies increasing to more than 3,500 from just 203 in May 2010.

Figures released last month illustrate the success of the institutions, with sponsored academies improving their performance by three percentage points. This compares with an improvement of one percentage point among all schools.

A number of schools which became academies in 2012 were previously among the poorest in the country but are now thriving.

At Ryecroft Primary Academy in Bradford, there was an increase of 48 percentage points in the number of pupils achieving the expected level in the 3Rs. Some 74 per cent of pupils now meet the target.

Harris Primary Academy Philip Lane in Haringey, London, has witnessed a dramatic improvement in the proportion of six-year-olds passing the phonics check. Some 75 per cent of pupils now pass the test - up from 36 per cent in 2012. There has also been a significant improvement in the number of pupils achieving the expected levels in reading and maths.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said: "The best way to turn around the stubborn underperformance that exists in some schools is to bring in a sponsor. These sponsors bring with them experience, strong leadership, know-how - and a track record of success.

It is vital we continue to raise standards so all children leave primary school with a thorough grounding in reading, writing and maths so they can thrive at secondary school."

Originally, the academy programme focussed solely on raising standards in secondary schools but has been extended to cover primary schools. In addition to being sponsored academies, schools have the option to convert to academies in order to tackle underperformance.

Posted by Harriet McGowanADNFCR-2164-ID-801678961-ADNFCR
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