EPI report: Best and worst-performing academy trusts and LAs revealed

Academy trusts are “disproportionately represented” among the lowest-performing primary schools groups, according to new research by the Education Policy Institute.

The EPI compared school performance and pupil improvement at every academy trust and local authority in England. The research, which looked at performance at key stages two and four, took into account characteristics such as the prior attainment of pupils and levels of disadvantage, as well as the historic performance of the school.

It found that local authorities make up 15 of the top 20 school groups at key stage two, with just one MAT – the Harris Federation – making it into the top 10. Academy chains are “disproportionately represented amongst the lowest performing groups”, with 12 making it into the bottom 20.

Fourteen of the top 20 performing secondary school groups are academy chains, and just one of the six top performing local authorities is not in London. Although the bottom 20 is more even, three of the worst four are academy chains, including the Education Fellowship Trust, which gave up all 12 of its schools in March 2017, and Bright Tribe Trust, which relinquished all but one of its northern schools this year.

The best and worst performers

Key stage 2 

Best-performing school groups Worst-performing school groups
1. London Borough of Kensington & Chelsea 1. Bedford borough council
2. Harris Federation 2. Askel Veur – Diocese of Truro
3. London Borough of Greenwich 3. Borough of Poole
4. London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham 4. The Education Fellowship Trust
5. Redcar and Cleveland council 5. Rutland county council
6. London Borough of Hounslow 6. The Brooke Weston Trust
7. London Borough of Hackney 7. West Sussex county council
= London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames 8. Net Academies Trust
8. London Borough of Westminster 9. Diocese of Oxford
9. London Borough of Lambeth 10. Wakefield City Academies Trust
10. London Borough of Newham 11. Pontefract Academies Trust
11. The Spencer Academies Trust 12. Northamptonshire county council
12. London Borough of Islington 13. The Academy Trust of Melksham
13. The Diocese of Westminster Academy Trust = Doncaster council
14. London Borough of Redbridge 14. University of Brighton (Hastings Academies Trust)
=  London Borough of Haringey 15. Schoolsworks Academy Trust
15. London Borough of Tower Hamlets 16. Luton borough council
16. Transform Trust 17. Bracknell Forest borough council
= Hull Collaborative Academy Trust =United Learning Trust
17. London Borough of Lewisham 18. The Blessed Cyprian Tansi Catholic Academy Trust


Key stage 4

Best-performing school groups Worst-performing school groups
1. The Rodillian Academy Trust 1. Bright Tribe Trust
2. Outwood Grange Academies Trust 2. Nottingham city council
3. London Borough of Brent 3. The Hart Schools Trust Ltd
4. The Gorse Academies Trust 4. The Education Fellowship Trust
5. Harris Federation 5. Barnsley council
6. University of Brighton (Hastings Academies Trust) = Southend-on-Sea borough council
7. Matrix Academy Trust 6. Greenwood Academies Trust
8. London Borough of Hackney 7. The Brooke Weston Trust
= Kingston-upon-Hull city council 8. Newcastle city council
9. London Borough of Haringey = Eastern Multi Academy Trust
= The Dean Trust = Solihull metropolitan borough council
10. Samuel Ward Academy Trust = Derby city council
11. The Thinking Schools Academy Trust 9. Education Central Multi Academy Trust
12. The Sigma Trust 10. Walsall council
= London Borough of Merton =Woodard Academies Trust
13. Diocese of London 11. David Meller *
14. United Learning Trust 12. Wirral council
= London Borough of Southwark = Milton Keynes council
15. Redhill Academy Trust = City of Wolverhampton council
= The Cam Academy Trust 13. Wade Deacon Trust


*This includes all schools that fall under the sponsorship of David Meller in the following multi-academy trusts: The Meller Educational Trust, Hertswood Academy, Elstree UTC, Watford UTC and Harefield Academy Trust


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  1. Mark Watson

    Genuinely amusing to see how SchoolsWeek is presenting these statistics.
    “three of the worst four are academy chains” – because whenever anyone looks at lists they always look in groups of four don’t they?
    Of course if they’d referred to the worst five rankings that would be dead-even split of three academy chains and three councils.
    If they’d referred to the worst ten rankings that would be almost even split of eight academy chains and seven councils.
    Presumably that wouldn’t have fitted the narrative though, so bottom four it was!

    • Mark Watson

      One of those occasions where I agree with you Janet!
      It’s a shame your article’s headline only refers to debunking the positive statement the report makes about academies (they do better in secondaries) whereas of course your point also means that the report’s other statement about academies (they do worse in primaries) is similarly debunked. But hey ho.

  2. Sarah

    It’s quite plain that academisation is not what makes the difference to school performance. Utterly predicted and predictable but didn’t stop Tory ideologues destroying a relatively coherent system in favour of the absolute mess we now have.