Michael Gove has today commented on the National Audit Office report on the Academies programme
I welcome the findings of this NAO report. It confirms our belief that the Academies programme is working, reporting a clear lift in performance after schools convert to academies, confirming that they are improving faster than other comparable schools and that they continue to serve the most disadvantaged communities and pupils. We also know that pupils on free school meals have improved faster in academies than similar pupils nationally.
The experience of the city technology colleges in England, and other reforms across the world, shows that giving schools autonomy successfully drives up performance, and that this improvement is sustained. The performance of the large academy chains is already improving at a rapid rate. This year the Harris Federation reports a ten percentage point increase across all their academies, and ARK academies have reported a 13 percentage point increase.
We have already taken prompt action on the NAO recommendations as we strive to strengthen the programme even further. The Academies programme is helping children from all backgrounds to get a better education – that is why we are allowing more schools to become academies, and are giving real power and autonomy back to schools and teachers.