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Half of city academies find way to worst schools list

Half of city academies find way to worst schools list

LONDON: More than half the government’s flagship city academies are listed among the worst schools in the country in the new league tables. Seven of the 13 semi-independent academies, which are open long enough to provide data on results of the compulsory tests taken by 14-year-olds in English, mathematics and science, appear in the list of the worst 200 state schools in England.

Nine of the 11 academies reporting results were in the table last year, which shows results for the key stage three tests.

It has come to light that at the Manchester academy in Moss Side, students aged 14 had failed to reach even standards of 11-year-olds in primary schools. The academy scored average points of 26.8. In all English state schools, the average was 34.5.

Among the other academies — state schools backed by private sponsors — showing low average results are the Capital City academy in Brent, north London, Unity in Middlesbrough and City academy, Bristol. The results for Capital and Bristol both improved on the previous year, while Unity’s results remained the same.

Schools minister Lord Adonis said the academies would be “among the very best schools” in future years. He said these institutes cannot be criticised for not being at the top of the performance table as they started in the game way behind. “But they are getting there, as today’s results show.”

There are critics of the scheme. Steve Sinnott, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, asked the minister to call of the 5-billion-pound academies programme.

The academies programme has been mooted by the government with a view to transform failing comprehensives in poor areas with backing from wealthy private sponsors. Teachers’ representatives have described the scheme as back-door privatisation of state schools, while some of the MPs have called for halting the programme, which aims to build 200 academies by 2010.

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