The apparent success of academy schools could be down to their pupils taking easier exams.
A Times Educational Supplement report quoted figures from parliamentary questions that showed that 48 per cent of A* to C grades at academies were achieved in qualifications such as NVQs and BTechs, rather than in academic GCSEs . The thinktank Civitas described these vocational qualifications as being of 'extremely questionable value.'
Just 49 per cent of A* to C grades at academies were achieved in academic subjects, compared to 73 per cent in other schools.
The findings are bad news for the coalition government, which has repeatedly expressed a desire to roll out more academies across the UK, while Education Secretary Michael Gove has stressed the need for more 'hard' subjects to be taught in schools.