Camden and Barnet councils rank above most English academy chains for school performance

The report was published today. Picture: PA

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

Camden ranks among the top education providers in the country but below some academy trusts, a report has revealed.

The Labour-run council is the joint-fifth best authority for progression of pupils at primary school level last year in the first league table to compare English Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) and local authorities.

It performs better than the majority of academy chains in England, research from the Education Policy Institute (EPI) thinktank found.

But the authority, which generally opposes academisation, is outperformed by two academy chains, according to today’s report.

Camden drops to joint 17th for performance at GCSE – the same position as the ARK Schools academy chain, which runs King Solomon Academy in Paddington and Atwood Primary Academy in Queen’s Park.

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.

Barnet Council ranked second in the country for performance at GCSE, coming behind an academy chain.

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

Cllr Reuben Thompstone, Barnet’s chairman of the children, education, libraries and safeguarding committee, said: “This is testament to the talent and commitment of our pupils, teachers, school leaders and those at the council tasked with supporting educational improvement.”

MATs topped the EPI league tables for both Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 performance – but the worst education providers for pupil progression were also academy chains, according to the report.

But overall, the report 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 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.”