Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Unexpected school reform: academisation of primary schools in England

Eyles, Andrew, Machin, Stephen and McNally, Sandra (2017) Unexpected school reform: academisation of primary schools in England. Journal of Public Economics, 155. pp. 108-121. ISSN 0047-2727

Text - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (766kB) | Preview
Identification Number: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2017.09.004


The change of government in 2010 provoked a large structural change in the English education landscape. Unexpectedly, the new government offered primary schools the chance to have ‘the freedom and the power to take control of their own destiny’, with better performing schools given a green light to fast track convert to become an academy school. In England, schools that become academies have more freedom over many ways in which they operate, including curriculum design, budgets, staffing issues and the shape of the academic year. However, the change to allow primary school academisation has been controversial. This paper reports estimates of the causal effect of academy enrolment on primary school pupils. While the international literature provides growing evidence on the effect of school autonomy in a variety of contexts, little is known about the effect of autonomy on primary schools (which are typically much smaller than secondary schools) and in contexts where the converting school is not deemed to be failing or disadvantaged. The key findings are that English primary schools did change their mode of operation after the exogenous policy change, utilising more autonomy and changing spending behaviour, but this did not lead to improved pupil performance.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 The Authors © CC BY 4.0
Divisions: Centre for Economic Performance
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2017 08:25
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 02:34
Projects: ES/M010341/1
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics