Annal Nayyar- Primary academies are transforming attainment in primary schools

The Department for Education today announced that more than 400 struggling primary schools were paired up with academy sponsors in the last year – exceeding a pledge made 12 months ago.

In 2012, 200 of the weakest primaries became sponsored academies – after which the government promised to go even further and faster in tackling underperformance, and pledged to broker sponsorship of 400 further failing primaries in 2013.

It means that 645 underperforming primary schools have now come under the wing of academy sponsors under this government – with their previous poor performance now being tackled and standards being raised.

In May 2010 there were 203 academies – all of them sponsored, none of them primary schools. In total there are now more than 3,500 academies.

The primary school tables, published last month, showed that sponsored academies had improved their performance by 3 percentage points, against an improvement in all schools of 1 percentage point.

Examples of some of the primary schools which became sponsored academies in 2012 when they were among the poorest in the country, but which are now thriving

The sponsored academy programme is in addition to the hundreds of schools which can convert to academy status (known as converter academies). The academy programme was previously focused only on underperforming secondary schools. This government is now using academies to tackle weak primary schools as well. It has also allowed schools to take advantage of the freedoms and autonomy on offer by academy status, by converting.

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