Primaries are now becoming academies faster than secondaries

A new report finds stark variations in the number of academies in different regions – and discovers where underperforming schools are most likely to be converted 
For the first time, primary schools are becoming academies at a faster rate than secondary schools.


But ministers are unlikely to celebrate this as evidence of growing popularity of their flagship policy among primaries, as the conversion rate in both phases slowed over the last year.


That is one of the main findings of a report by the National Foundation for Educational Research, published today.


The study, ‘A tale of eight regions’, examines how school structures have changed in the different areas covered by regional schools commissioners (RSCs) – the powerful civil servants who oversee academies, and, increasingly, non-academies, in their patch.


Here are six key findings:


Academy growth in the primary sector now exceeds the secondary sector 
This year was the first time this has happened since the coalition government put "rocket boosters" under the academy programme in 2010. However, it is not because the rate of academisation among primary schools is increasing – it just declined slower than that of secondary schools. 
Growth in the secondary sector was 8.4 per cent in 2013 but now stands at 2.9 per cent in 2016. This compares to the primary sector, where growth has fallen from 4.4 per cent in 2013 to 3.7 per cent now.


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