There’s nothing ‘outstanding’ about the proposal for universities to be forced to sponsor schools

The new green paper Schools that Work for Everyone includes some detail on the Government’s proposed link between University access agreements and their sponsorship of schools.  The Government would like to see all universities “sponsor existing schools or set up new schools in exchange for the ability to charge higher fees”.  The consultation notes that some universities already sponsor schools, and gives the example of the King’s College London Mathematics School (a highly selective 6th form).  Universities would have to either:

  • Establish a new school in the state system, of which the capital and revenue costs will be met by the government, or;
  • Sponsor an academy in the state system.

and, it should be noted, the following important caveat applies

In both cases, we would expect this school to be good or outstanding within a certain number of years, and over time we would expect universities to extend this partnership with the schools sector, to charge the higher rate of fees. For example, we would ask universities to extend their support to further schools after a certain number of years, which in turn would be required to be Good or Oustanding [sic] over time

(Yes, DfE spelt ‘Outstanding’ incorrectly)

Clearly the sector will need more detail on this.  Potentially the ability to charge more the £6k fees – effectively a third of the expected fee from home (and EU) students rests on sponsorship of a good or outstanding school.   This is a huge risk, as a single point of failure it is potentially greater than retention of your UKVI licence.  Would it be a single trigger, what time scales are involved, would the access agreement be terminated in one go, affecting all cohorts?

We can measure the risk as we know something of universities’ current engagement in school sponsorship.  HEFCE have completed a helpful survey, and there’s a page that lists the links they’ve found.  The most challenging group are the academies – many of which are ‘converter academies’, schools which faced serious challenges.  I count that universities sponsor 65 academies.  HEFCE include no performance data on these schools, but I have looked up the Ofsted reports related to these 65.  There are no reports for 11 schools – mostly because they have converted or been established too recently (or I missed them).  But this is the outcome of those academy reports

Outstanding 1
Good 31
Requires Improvement 14
Inadequate 8
No report 11

The proportion of university-sponsored academies rated good or outstanding (for which we have reports) is 59%, which is lower than the overall proportion of 74% (Ofsted Annual Report 2015).  Plenty has been written about the academisation programme, but there are findings that it is not always a magic bullet.  I would like to think it is because universities have acted as sponsors for schools with real challenges – and the concern would be that the proposals in the Green Paper would give universities a real incentive to drop struggling schools, rather than to work with them.  It is also not necessarily clear how much some sponsorship arrangements impact on schools (some of the co-sponsorships are not very evidence from cursory checks of school websites).  The proposed policy could be a startlingly perverse incentive; why sponsor an historically under-performing school and run potentially large risks when you can set up a small, highly selective feeder 6th form?

Annex: Secondary or all-through academies sponsored by a university

  HEI sponsor type School name Phase Date open Ofsted
Brunel University London Co-sponsor Stockley Academy Secondary Sep-04 Inadequate
Canterbury Christ Church University Main sponsor Dover Christ Church Academy Secondary Sep-10 Requires Improvement
Canterbury Christ Church University Co-sponsor The John Wallis Church of England Academy All Through Sep-10 Good
City University London Co-sponsor City of London Academy Islington Secondary Sep-08 Good
Edge Hill University Co-sponsor Manchester Communication Academy Secondary Sep-10 Good
Liverpool Hope University Co-sponsor Hope Academy Secondary Sep-11 Good
London South Bank University Main sponsor University Academy of Engineering South Bank Secondary Sep-14 no report
Newman University Co-sponsor St Edmunds Catholic Academy Secondary Jul-13 Good
Newman University Co-sponsor Perry Beeches The Academy Secondary May-12 Outstanding
Oxford Brookes University Co-sponsor The Oxford Academy Secondary Sep-08 Requires Improvement
Queen Mary University of London (MAT) Multi-academy trust Drapers’ Academy Secondary Sep-10 Good
Staffordshire University (MAT) Main sponsor Staffordshire University Academy Secondary Sep-11 Requires Improvement
Teesside University Main sponsor Freebrough Academy Secondary Sep-10 Good
Teesside University Main sponsor Thornaby Academy Secondary Sep-10 Inadequate
The University of Bradford Main sponsor University Academy Keighley Secondary Sep-10 Inadequate
The University of Chichester (MAT) Multi-academy trust Mill Chase Academy Secondary Nov-13 no report
The University of Hull Main sponsor Thomas Ferens Academy Secondary Sep-12 no report
The University of Kent Main sponsor Brompton Academy Secondary Sep-10 Good
The University of Kent Co-sponsor Longfield Academy Secondary Sep-08 Good
The University of Liverpool Co-sponsor North Liverpool Academy Secondary Sep-06 Requires Improvement
The University of Liverpool Co-sponsor Liverpool College All-through Sep-13 Good
The University of Nottingham Co-sponsor Nottingham University Samworth Academy Secondary Sep-09 Requires Improvement
The University of Salford (MAT) Multi-academy trust The Albion Academy Secondary Sep-12 Requires Improvement
The University of Wolverhampton (MAT) Multi-academy trust The ACE Academy Secondary Mar-13 Inadequate
The University of Wolverhampton (MAT) Multi-academy trust Smestow School, A Specialist Sports College Secondary Feb-14 no report
The University of Wolverhampton (MAT) Multi-academy trust Wednesfield High School, A Specialist Engineering College Secondary Sep-14 no report
The University of Wolverhampton Main sponsor South Wolverhampton and Bilston Academy Secondary Sep-09 Requires Improvement
The University of Wolverhampton Main sponsor North East Wolverhampton Academy Secondary Sep-10 Requires Improvement
University College London Main sponsor The UCL Academy Secondary Sep-12 Good
University for the Creative Arts Main sponsor Strood Academy Secondary Sep-09 Good
University of Bedfordshire (MAT) Multi-academy trust Samuel Whitbread Academy Secondary Mar-12 Good
University of Bedfordshire Co-sponsor All Saints Academy Dunstable Secondary Sep-09 Inadequate
University of Brighton (MAT) Multi-academy trust The Hastings Academy Secondary Sep-11 Requires Improvement
University of Brighton (MAT) Multi-academy trust The St Leonards Academy Secondary Sep-11 Good
University of Bristol Co-sponsor Merchants’ Academy All Through Sep-08 Good
University of Central Lancashire Co-sponsor West Lakes Academy Secondary Sep-08 Good
University of Chester Co-sponsor Wade Deacon High School Secondary Mar-13 no report
University of Chester (MAT) Multi-academy trust University Church of England Academy Secondary Sep-09 Requires Improvement
University of Chester (MAT) Multi-academy trust University of Chester Academy Northwich Secondary Jan-12 Requires Improvement
University of Chester (MAT) Multi-academy trust University Academy Warrington Secondary Jan-13 Requires Improvement
University of Chester (MAT) Multi-academy trust University Academy Kidsgrove Secondary Jun-13 Inadequate
University of Derby Co-sponsor Merrill Academy Secondary Jan-13 Inadequate
University of Exeter (MAT) Multi-academy trust Isca Secondary Oct-13 no report
University of Exeter (MAT) Multi-academy trust Cranbrook Education Campus All Through Sep-15 no report
University of Greenwich Co-sponsor The Leigh Academy Secondary Sep-07 Good
University of Greenwich Co-sponsor Wilmington Academy Secondary Sep-10 Good
University of Greenwich Co-sponsor Stationers Crown Woods Academy Secondary Sep-14 no report
University of Greenwich Co-sponsor Longfield Academy Secondary Sep-08 Good
University of Hertfordshire Co-sponsor Francis Combe Academy Secondary Sep-09 Good
University of Lincoln Main sponsor University Academy Holbeach Secondary Sep-11 Good
University of Lincoln Co-sponsor St George’s Academy Secondary Jan-10 Good
University of Plymouth (MAT) Multi-academy trust Marine Academy Plymouth All Through Sep-10 Good
University of St Mark & St John Co-sponsor The All Saints Church of England Academy Secondary Sep-10 Requires Improvement
University of the West of England, Bristol (MAT) Multi-academy trust Bristol Brunel Academy Secondary Sep-07 Good
University of the West of England, Bristol (MAT) Multi-academy trust John Cabot Academy Secondary Sep-07 Requires Improvement
University of the West of England, Bristol (MAT) Multi-academy trust Bristol Metropolitan Academy Secondary Sep-09 Good
University of the West of England, Bristol (MAT) Multi-academy trust Hans Price Academy Secondary May-11 Good
University of the West of England, Bristol (MAT) Multi-academy trust King’s Oak Academy All Through Sep-11 Good
University of the West of England, Bristol (MAT) Multi-academy trust Bath Community Academy Secondary Sep-12 Inadequate
University of the West of England, Bristol (MAT) Multi-academy trust Hanham Woods Academy Secondary Sep-14 no report
University of the West of England, Bristol (MAT) Multi-academy trust Digitech Studio School Secondary Sep-15 no report
University of the West of England, Bristol (MAT) Multi-academy trust Orchard School Bristol Secondary Sep-12 Good
University of the West of England, Bristol (MAT) Multi-academy trust Bridge Learning Campus All Through Mar-13 Good
University of the West of England, Bristol Co-sponsor New Fosseway School All Through Sep-09 Good
University of Winchester Co-sponsor The Bishop of Winchester Academy Secondary Sep-10 Good

Source: HEFCE academies sponsored by higher education list – snapshot as at 15 December 2015 with Ofsted Report outcomes accessed 12 September 2016 

 

 

 

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “There’s nothing ‘outstanding’ about the proposal for universities to be forced to sponsor schools

  1. Pingback: Be careful what you wish for – Eponymous

  2. Pingback: Good schools and Access Agreements | moremeansbetter

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s