Are Academies better than Local Authority Schools?

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By One Education
on 15 April, 2016

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Kieran McDermott on BBC Sunday Politics

Last Sunday, CEO of One Education Kieran McDermott joined a panel on the BBC's North West Sunday Politics show.Kieran McDermott BBC Interview on Academies image

Interviewed by Arif Ansari, and joined by the Conservative MP for Eddisbury Antoinette Sandbach and the Labour MP for Chester Chris Matheson, the discussion centred on the continued national debate over academisation

Pushed for controversial views surrounding academies and local authorities, and even asked to 'pick a side' - Kieran's overarching message was that not of a definitive solution, but that more care and attention should be paid to the process of conversion, ensuring that it is in the best interests of the schools, teachers, parents, and ultimately the pupils.

He expended on this idea stating that under any school structure, the school's strategy should still be focused on developing the teaching profession and enhancing pathways into qualified teacher status. He also pushed for schools to be questioning what it is that frees up the most effective practice in schools, and enables them to work best.

When asked about the proposed deadline for all schools to become academies, Kieran questioned the idea, stating that it "puts stress on the system when really we should be focusing on the quality of the Multi Academy Trust and the quality of the professional development". 

Are Academies better than Local Authority Schools?

When asked about data showing that academies perform better than Local Authority Schools, Kieran pointed out that perhaps some statistics may be slightly skewed in favour of academies - pointing out that often, it is Local Authority schools that are already outstanding which lead the way in converting to academy status. We may have to wait and see if this remains the case, if and when all schools eventually become academies. 

He also stated that despite the success of Multi-Academy Trusts, there are also Local Authorities who have "worked incredibly well to develop their family of schools, and to improve their provision"

A BBC report this week expanded upon the difficulty in drawing conclusions at this stage in the academy conversion landscape. 

Watch the full Interview Live on BBC iPlayer - which starts 47 minutes into the programme.

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