Good schools are vital to our individual and collective wellbeing and prosperity, and are vital for the foundation of a fair and cohesive society. Strong schooling enables us to cope with the uncertainties of life, develop our potential, and extend our opportunities. Good schools also work to correct underlying inequalities, and to advance other shared social and economic objectives.
The Academies Commission is a major inquiry into whether the increasing academisation of our schools advances these goals. It follows a rapid increase in the number of schools converting to academy status with numbers swelling from 203 to 2,619 (January 2013) since the coalition government came to power.
With the speed of academisation exceeding all expectations, much of the debate has been retrospective with operational policy being created ‘on the hoof’. What has been notably absent, in government policy and media, think tank and academic comment, is analysis of the implications of mass academisation. What are the unique features of an entirely academised system and what impact these will have on young people’s educational outcomes?
The Academies commission will broadly examine:
- The implications of complete academisation for school improvement and pupil attainment
- How improvement and attainment can best be secured within an academised system
- The model and incipient outcomes from a school improvement perspective, focusing on issues of accountability, due diligence, and outcomes for pupils.
- Emerging trends, risks, and related questions, concentrating on public interest.
The Commission will develop a practical but compelling vision for the future of UK Academisation. Chaired by Christine Gilbert, the Commission brings together a breadth of perspectives and a wealth of experience with Commissioners drawn from across the political spectrum, academia, private and third sectors. The inquiry will run for 9 months reporting towards the end of 2012.