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Unexpected school reform: academisation of primaryschools in England

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  • Eyles, Andrew
  • Machin, Stephen
  • McNally, Sandra

Abstract

The change of government in 2010 provoked a large structural change in the English education landscape. Unexpectedly, the new government offered primary schools the chance to have ‘the freedom and the power to take control of their own destiny’, with better performing schools given a green light to convert to become an academy school on a fast track. In England, schools that become academies have more freedom over many ways in which they operate, including the curriculum, staff pay, the length of the school day and the shape of the academic year. However, the change to allow primary school academisation has been controversial. In this paper, we study the effect for the first primary schools that became academies. While the international literature provides growing evidence on the effects of school autonomy in a variety of contexts, little is known about the effects of autonomy on primary schools (which are typically much smaller than secondary schools) and in contexts where the school is not deemed to be failing or disadvantaged. The key finding is that schools did change their modes of operation after the exogenous policy change, but at the primary phase of schooling, academisation did not lead to improved pupil performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Eyles, Andrew & Machin, Stephen & McNally, Sandra, 2016. "Unexpected school reform: academisation of primaryschools in England," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 69027, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:69027
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Lorenzo Neri & Elisabetta Pasini, 2018. "Heterogeneous Effects of Mass Academisation in England," Working Papers 847, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    2. Andrés Barrios F. & Giulia Bovini, 2017. "It's Time to Learn: Understanding the Differences in Returns to Instruction Time," CEP Discussion Papers dp1521, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    3. Andrew Eyles & Stephen Machin & Olmo Silva, 2017. "Academies 2: the new batch - the changing nature of academy schools in England," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 79988, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. repec:eee:ecoedu:v:63:y:2018:i:c:p:167-179 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Barrios Fernandez, Andrés & Bovini, Giulia, 2017. "It’s time to learn: understanding the differences in returns to instruction time," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86618, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Joe Regan-Stansfield, 2016. "Do good primary schools perform even better as academies?," Working Papers 141167564, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    academies; pupil performance;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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