January 10, 2018
A reform of the UK education system in 2010 gave public schools the option to become academies, independent entities funded directly from the central government. Once converted, schools have to choose between remaining a standalone academy or joining an academy chain. The majority of studies to date have focused on the impact of becoming an academy on children outcomes, disregarding the possible heterogeneity arising from the adoption of alternative conversion models. Administrative records for primary school-age students before and after conversion allow us to shed light on this channel by using a grandfathering instrument for attending a converted school. We find that students in academy chains have better standardised scores with respect to their peers in standalone academies. The use of survey data offers possible explanations for this result: schools joining a chain are more likely to make changes related to managerial practices, whereas standalone academies favour changes related to educational practices.
J.E.L classification codes: I20, I21, I28
Keywords:Academies, School governance, School performance