Schools face pressure to become academies
City schools could be put under pressure by the Government to convert to academies because of poor results.
Provisional Sats results for 11-year-olds at Beaumont Lodge and Heatherbrook primaries, in Beaumont Leys, and Northfield House, in Northfields, reveal they have not made the Government's benchmark of 60 per cent or more students achieving the appropriate level for their age in English and maths.
Last September, the Government revealed it was considering plans to turn seven city primaries into academies because of similarly poor results.
Since then, five more schools have been added to the list that the Department for Education believes needs to come out of local authority control. Following the release of this year's provisional Sats results, Beaumont Lodge, Heatherbrook and Northfield House also face being encouraged to convert.
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Mark Cosgrove, head of Northfield House, said: "These are provisional results and we expect them to go up slightly when official figures are verified.
"Clearly, we would like this summer's results to be better and we're working hard to ensure standards are raised.
"Academy conversion isn't something we have discussed at the school, and I've seen no overwhelming evidence to show that becoming an academy changes practices and raises achievement.
"However, I'm happy to consider all options providing that it's in the best interest of our pupils, although I'm not aware of any immediate pressure from the Department for Education."
A report to Leicester City Council's children and young people's scrutiny committee this month, shows that at Beaumont Leys, only 58.3 per cent reached this benchmark, compared to just 55.6 per cent at Heatherbrook, and 53.8 per cent at Northfield House.
Head teachers at Beaumont Leys and Heatherbrook were not available for comment.
Academies are semi-independent state schools, which receive funding directly, and have more powers over areas such as the curriculum and staff pay and conditions.
The Department for Education believes schools can improve with fewer restrictions, but the city council's policy is to resist it.
Of the seven primaries encouraged to convert last September, Rushey Mead is the only one not to have reached the benchmark for its results this year.
So far, only Queensmead Community Primary, in Braunstone, has made the decision to convert and will make the move on November 1, with the help of sponsor, the Greenwood Dale Foundation Trust – a not-for-profit charity.
Councillor Vi Dempster, the council's education spokeswoman said: "Our Sats results are improving and those schools which were below the floor target have shown improvement thanks to our partnership approach.
"There's absolutely no evidence that shows conversion to academy increases achievement – if anything, the extra responsibility can have a de-stabilising effect."