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Analysis of HE-sponsored schools

The following trends are based on the results of sponsored academies and their predecessor schools over the time period 2006 to 2014, regardless of when they became sponsored. This covers a variety of different sponsorship relationships and models, the results for which might vary.

This analysis looks at trends in pupil attainment and higher education progression from secondary schools, with a focus on academies sponsored by higher education institutions (HEIs). This information may not be comprehensive: we used the Department for Education's list of ‘Open academies and academy projects’ and knowledge within the Institutions Directorate at HEFCE to identify HEI-sponsored academies.

Key Stage 4 attainment 

There has been a rapid increase in pupil attainment in all sponsored academies over recent years. Between 2005 and 2013, the proportion of pupils achieving 5 A*-C GCSEs and equivalent in sponsored academies more than doubled.

Despite being well below the sector level in 2005, pupil attainment almost matched it in 2013 where the proportion of pupils achieving 5 A*-C GCSEs and equivalent was over 80 per cent (Figure 1). 

Figure 1: GCSE and equivalent attainment at sponsored academies 2006-2014

Analysis based on National Pupil Database (NPD), HESA and ILR data.

Note: 2014 results are not comparable to previous trends due to a change in methodology.

This growth in attainment appears to have been driven by achievement in vocational qualifications. Between 2005 and 2014, the proportion of pupils achieving 5 A*-C grades from only GCSE qualifications has seen little variation in sponsored academies.

This is not dissimilar to the sector as a whole, which only saw a marginal increase in GCSE-only attainment over this period (Figure 2). 

Figure 2: GCSE attainment at sponsored academies 2006-2014

Analysis based on National Pupil Database (NPD), HESA and ILR data.

Please note that in 2014 there were changes in the method of calculating GCSE equivalencies (see full details). This means the 2014 results around GCSE and equivalents attainment are not comparable to previous trends. 

Progression to higher education 

Progression into higher education by pupils from sponsored academies has increased over recent years, slightly faster than for all schools.

But the proportion that progressed to higher education from the most recent cohort (who took GCSEs or equivalents in 2010) was still half that observed for all schools, where approximately 1 in 5 did, compared with almost 2 in 5 overall.

Figure 3: Higher education progression 2006-2010 cohorts

Analysis based on National Pupil Database (NPD), HESA and ILR data.

Page last updated 7 October 2016