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Academies worry

The Department of Education and Skills lead civil servant has admitted he is deeply concerned by English and maths results in academies. David Bell, permaent secretary, told MPs on the Commons public accounts committee: "It concerned my greatly - but it concerns the academies more because getting the basics right is the foundation of success elsewhere."

A report by the National Audit Office last month found that 22 per cennt of pupils in privately-sponsored academies gained five A* to C grades including English and maths while the average for secondary schools was 45 per cent.

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