As the UK’s equivalent of charter schools and the Government’s darling policy, academies being set up by private organizations have been accused of expelling poorly performing pupils to boost results.
Data from the Department for Education shows children are more likely to be expelled from academies than other state schools. Persistent bad behaviour was named as the main reason for permanent and temporary exclusions, followed by physical assaults on teachers and fellow pupils, writes Graeme Paton at the Telegraph.
While Academy officials insist that these schools are often situated in deprived postcodes with large numbers of problem pupils, the Department of Education has said that, even in similar circumstances, academies are still more likely to exclude difficult children.
Academies are independent state schools given complete freedom from local authorities to control their own admissions and exclusions, and while the Coalition government continues to expand the number of academy schools in the country, critics say the latest figures prove that these organizations are employing their independence to expel the worst pupils.
One such critic, the Anti-Academies Alliance, believes that “by overt and covert means the school population is massaged to remove those pupils who are considered less likely to do well in GCSEs and thus affect the academy’s ratings”.
According the research, academies were 10.2 percent more likely to suspend students every day than state schools.
“Academies also expelled the equivalent of 0.3 per cent of pupils during the academic year – compared with 0.07 per cent nationally.”
A Department of Education spokesman said:
“Academies replacing previously underperforming schools have a very similar exclusion rate as other schools in similar circumstances, but we expect there to be a decrease in exclusions once the academy is properly established and the school begins to improve.”