Government hails academies scheme success, including one in Keighley

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The government has claimed turning struggling primary schools into academies – including one in Keighley – has turned around “stubborn under-performers”.

But Councillor Ralph Berry, the executive member for children’s services on Labour-run Bradford Council, dismissed the claim as government propaganda, and insisted improvements at the schools had little to do with how they were governed.

The government said its plan to improve school performance had exceeded early pledges, and that nationally 400 struggling schools had been turned around in the past year by becoming academies, and 645 since 2010.

It said figures showed sponsored academies improved their performance by three percentage points, compared to an improvement in all schools of one percentage point.

The nine primary school academies in Bradford district include Merlin Top at Guard House, run by the Northern Education Trust.

A Department for Education spokesman said: “The best way to turn around the stubborn under-performance that exists in some schools is to bring in a sponsor. These sponsors bring with them experience, leadership, know-how and a track record of success.”

But Coun Berry said: “Many of the schools the government is saying have turned themselves around since becoming academies were on the way up anyway.

“Recent Ofsted reports have praised the quality of teaching. That is what helps.”

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