Welcome to the newly launched Academies Commission – set up by the RSA and the Pearson Think Tank to examine the implications of the ‘mass academisation’ of state schools and the impact this might have on educational outcomes.

  • Purpose

    Sponsored by the Cooperative and CfBT Education Trust, the Academies Commission follows a rapid increase in the number of schools converting to academy status with numbers swelling from 200 to 2,619 since the coalition government came to power.

  • Commissioners

    The commission is chaired by former Chief-Inspector of Schools Christine Gilbert who is joined by two other commissioners – Brett Wigdortz (CEO of Teach First) and Professor Chris Husbands (Director of the Institute of Education). The Academies Commission will shortly announce its formal remit, and engage with a wide range of stakeholders to develop a practical but compelling vision for the future of UK academisation.  In the meantime –  please do get in touch and keep an eye out for future events and publications.

Recent posts

  • Watch or listen to our report launch event recordings January 25, 2013
  • Watch or listen to our report launch event live January 10, 2013
  • Academies Commission Report: ‘Unleashing Greatness: Getting the best from an academised system’ January 10, 2013
  • Read the Times article: Academies growing too fast, say experts January 8, 2013
  • Read the BBC news article: Academic condemns academy expert teacher ruling August 2, 2012

Recent Comments

  • AcadComm on Contact
  • AcadComm on Contact
  • Report suggests spread of academies is undermining inclusion on Academies Commission Report: ‘Unleashing Greatness: Getting the best from an academised system’
  • Kirstie Castle on About
  • Jenny Woodruff on Contact


  • January 2016
  • August 2015
  • July 2015
  • June 2015
  • May 2015
  • April 2015
  • March 2014


Watch or listen to our report launch event recordings: "Introducing New Fitness Programs In Public Schools"

If you missed the live streaming of our report launch event at the RSA, you can now watch the edited highlights or listen to the full recording (including audience Q&A) from the RSA Events page. The electronic copy of our report and press coverage could be found on our Publications and Press page.

Academies Commission Report: "Unleashing Greatness: Getting the best from an academised system"

The Academies Commission Report, ‘Unleashing Greatness: Getting the best from an academised system‘, is now available.   The Report’s launch is marked by a keynote event at the RSA, with a speech from Commission Chair Christine Gilbert, and responses from the OECD’s Andreas Schleicher and headteachers Dr Vanessa Ogden and David Carter.

Academies Commission Report: "Steroid Abuse Amongst Young People"

Anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) are compounds that imitate the effects of testosterone on the body. The anabolic part of the name describes the building of muscles whilst androgenic refers to the increase of male characteristics. This is why they can often have the effect of increasing male gender related traits such as acne, hair growth on the chest, back and face and deepening of the vocal chords. When this occurs in women it is known as virilization. A drug is defined as ‘a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body’. They can be used recreationally, which is the normal use when it comes to steroids, or medically to treat health conditions. Usually, medical steroids are used to treat hormone conditions such as low testosterone but are also used for anemia, muscle wasting diseases, and osteoporosis. Steroids are often called gear, roids, juice, and stackers by young people.

What is steroid abuse?

Unfortunately, the definition of steroid abuse is unclear. Compared to mental issues such as alcohol abuse steroid abuse is a quite hard to spot. It’s becoming increasingly harder to tell who’s on steroids and who isn’t. For example, steroids don’t affect your mentality like drugs and alcohol which makes abuse of those substances more obvious. Occasionally you may hear of ‘roid rage’ but there’s no actual evidence to support that this is a real phenomenon. Quite the contrary, actually. Most evidence supports that roid rage is non-existent. As well as this, the amount of people using steroids is increasing as well as the amount they use. When the amount of steroids a professional bodybuilder uses is examined you may think it’s a lot but to them and those around them, it’s fairly normal.

What does the law say?

The US and the UK law clearly states in the Steroid Control Acts that anabolic androgenic steroids are a Schedule III classified controlled substance. The US is the strictest country when it comes to steroids. Any use of steroids like Dianabol, Stanozolol or Anavar cycle for performance enhance is seen as steroid abuse. The only legal time when you can take steroids is when they are issued by a doctor. This is because overuse of these drugs can cause serious harm to the body. Prescription steroids are only given if the individual is in dire need of them. If steroids are not used to treat a medical condition then it is often referred to as steroid abuse. They are frequently used to increase the performance of athletes and aesthetics of in men or women which are when they become an issue as they are not regulated.

What are the signs of steroid abuse?

As previously stated, steroid abuse can be tricky to spot as it doesn’t affect the mind. Dramatic body transformations can be an obvious sign but normally people don’t take notice. Different steroids also affect the body in different ways which make spotting the signs even harder. Some will simply maintain musculoskeletal muscle, others will aid in fat loss and others will build muscle. The individual’s genetic response will determine the overall effects. Genetics come into play more so than most people think alongside training routine and diet. Use of steroids may lead to very serious health problems and it is important to educate young people about dangers of steroids use.