Think tank Reform’s school academy claim lacks academic rigour

Think tank Reform asked academies “Are you great?”, they said yes, and then think tank Reform said “academies are great”.

“This is how we *don’t* write press releases...”

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Think tank Reform  is claiming this morning that their new report (pdf) on Academy schools – schools which tend to act more like ‘independent schools within the state sector’ devolved from local authority responsibility – ‘explodes’ anti-academy myths.

Schools-career-adviceChief among these are that academy schools, which are intended to introduce more competition into the state sector, find it hard to collaborate with other schools due to, well, competition.

Reform, according to its press release (pdf), argues:

“Critics of academies have predicted that their greater independence will lead to a break up of state education.  The new survey dispels that fear by showing academies have good links with both neighbouring schools and local authorities.”

You might not be shocked that Reform come out to such a view point.

The think tank is widely sponsored by companies that apply for public sector contracts including G4S, Capita and Sodexo, and tends to argue that public sector outsourcing is a good thing, or at least anything which leads to public services away from being delivered by the traditional public sector.

It comes as a further non-shock that this latest research that shows academies in such a positive light has been jointly produced by ‘The Schools Network’ which Reform describes (pdf) as:

“The leading membership organisation for academies.”

However, what is surely odd is that the conclusion is made by only surveying academies, who,one might suppose, like us all, may suffer from confirmation and other biases.

To decide whether academies collaborate effectively, it would seem sensible to survey non-academies, local education authorities and parents as well. However, Reform fail to do this.

 


See also:

Time to rethink our approach to teaching 16 Mar 2012

What was hiding behind the boat: Information commissioner is investigating Gove 17 Jan 2012

Labour’s academies legislation laid the ground for free schools’ marriage moralising 5 Dec 2011

Gove’s three priorities? Gove, Gove, Gove 4 Oct 2011

League tables show Gove’s lack of ambition on underperforming schools 13 Jan 2011


 

The report is excellent in many ways. And the question of whether greater independence from democratic structures for schools is a good or bad thing remains open – as dueling quotations from the internationally-respected PISA studies show.

But asking some academies: “Do you think academies work well?” and to record the answers as “Yes” may not be the most rigorous way to investigate the topic.

 


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25 Responses to “Think tank Reform’s school academy claim lacks academic rigour”

  1. Dave O'Brien

    How research works in Westminster: Reform, Academies: a case study http://t.co/Me5mm06s writes @danielelton

  2. manishta sunnia

    How research works in Westminster: Reform, Academies: a case study http://t.co/Me5mm06s writes @danielelton

  3. Marilyn Sanders

    How research works in Westminster: Reform, Academies: a case study http://t.co/Me5mm06s writes @danielelton

  4. Cormac Hollingsworth

    MT @leftfootfwd is on form today -> Think Tank Reform's Academy claim fails academic rigour http://t.co/2zC2fJxJ

  5. NUT

    How research works in Westminster: Reform, Academies: a case study http://t.co/Me5mm06s writes @danielelton

  6. Warren Ellison

    How research works in Westminster: Reform, Academies: a case study http://t.co/Me5mm06s writes @danielelton

  7. Pulp Ark

    Think Tank Reform’s Academy claim fails… http://t.co/Vnm7hMAg #PublicServicesforAll #Academies #Reform #schools #muslim #tcot #sioa

  8. Patron Press - #P2

    #UK : Think Tank Reform ’s Academy claim fails academic rigour http://t.co/4KIAl9HS

  9. Michael

    Think Tank Reform’s Academy claim fails academic rigour – http://t.co/SXYg3pv2

  10. leftlinks

    Left Foot Forward – Think Tank Reform’s Academy claim fails academic rigour http://t.co/CYYGurRQ

  11. Celia Dignan

    Think Tank Reform's Academy claim fails academic rigour | Left Foot Forward http://t.co/ZR0hT1hg

  12. Gill Goodswen

    Think Tank Reform's Academy claim fails academic rigour | Left Foot Forward http://t.co/ZR0hT1hg

  13. Patron Press - #P2

    #UK : Think Tank Reform ’s school academy claim lacks academic rigour http://t.co/4KIAl9HS

  14. Hens4Freedom

    RT @leftfootfwd: How research works in Westminster: Reform, Academies: a case study http://t.co/x3nPgoS4 writes @danielelton #NewsClub

  15. Angela Sowdon

    RT @leftfootfwd: How research works in Westminster: Reform, Academies: a case study http://t.co/x3nPgoS4 writes @danielelton #NewsClub

  16. Ex-teacher

    OECD found that education systems that allow schools greater autonomy tended to have higher results when linked with accountability. OECD also found that in 2009 (before the Coalition came to power) that the UK was one of four countries which allowed greater autonomy. This conclusion seems to have been missed by both the authors of this report and the Government who claim that it is only by giving English schools more autonomy that results will rise.

    The report is analysed in greater detail here:

    http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2012/03/we-did-it-for-the-money-survey-reveals-extra-finances-were-the-most-popular-reason-for-academy-conversion/

  17. Patron Press - #P2

    #UK : Think tank Reform’s school academy claim lacks academic rigour http://t.co/4KIAl9HS

  18. Tony Braisby

    Reform asked academies “Are you great?”. They said yes. Reform reported: “academies are great”. http://t.co/4z1Yk0oD via @leftfootfwd

  19. TheCreativeCrip

    Think Tank Reform’s Academy claim fails academic rigour – http://t.co/SXYg3pv2

  20. Jill Hayward

    Think Tank Reform’s Academy claim fails academic rigour – http://t.co/SXYg3pv2

  21. Darren Sharma

    MT @leftfootfwd is on form today -> Think Tank Reform's Academy claim fails academic rigour http://t.co/2zC2fJxJ

  22. Fiona Millar

    How research works in Westminster: Reform, Academies: a case study http://t.co/Me5mm06s writes @danielelton

  23. Mollie

    "@leftfootfwd: How research works in Westminster: Reform, Academies: a case study http://t.co/oCliLOWX writes @danielelton"

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