Sweeping education reforms appear to be fuelling inequality in the schools system, according to a major analysis that shows high-performing and improving schools are accepting fewer children from poor backgrounds.
In a stark assessment of the impact of controversial measures introduced since 2010, the study warns that an original pledge to set schools free and give them more power has actually led to a system that is causing high levels of stress among teachers, with staff feeling constrained in their approach to teaching.
was abandoned in 2016 after a backlash among Tory MPs.
The study concludes that any new autonomy handed to schools had been “more than balanced” by testing and inspections that had ensured the state remains in control from a distance. The drive to turn schools into academies, the key part of reforms since 2010, is described as “uneven and often fraught”.