What are Academies?
Academies are non-selective state schools which are independent of the Local Authority and have freedom over their curriculum, the design of their buildings, and staff pay and conditions.
Once set up Free Schools are legally 'Academies'. Please see our 'Differences Across School Tipes' document for more information.
Unlike charter schools or Swedish free schools, Academies are usually a replacement of an existing school – not a totally new school Originally Academy sponsors were businessmen – but they are now allowed to be a wide variety of groups and education institutions. There are also 'Academy converters' - existing state schools which opt for more freedom.
In the late 1980s, the Government set up a small number of City and Technology schools – independent, state-funded schools sponsored by businesses.
In 2000, the new Government introduced Academies – also sponsored by businesses and with more freedoms than traditional state schools. The sponsors paid £2 million towards the cost of the school.
Are Academies popular?
Academies are popular with parents – they average almost 3 applications for every place.
Do Academies work?
Academy results are improving at 8% a year – four times as fast as the average rate of improvement for English schools and twice as fast as similar schools. Their improvement for GCSEs including Maths and English is five times faster than the national average.