Not so special
On performance, everyone hopes that academies will do well. Newly built secondaries usually do, at least at first. But academies start from a low performance base, so conclusions derived from comparing their rate of improvement with the average - including schools with little room to improve because up to 100 per cent of the age group already reach the required performance level - aren't worth much. Like has to be compared with like before comparisons can be taken seriously.
The important question I asked ("Seven reasons why Old Etonians might run our schools jolly well", TES, May 23) was this: is there anything of educational importance that academies can do that cannot be done equally well, at a fraction of the cost, by voluntary aided schools, as established under the 1944 Education Act? Nobody I've asked so far has been able to give a satisfactory answer to that.
Sir Peter Newsam, Former chief schools adjudicator, Pickering, North Yorkshire.