Pupil performance is mixed in city academies, the sponsored schools that have replaced failing schools in disadvantaged areas, according to government-commissioned research.
The study, published yesterday, found that performance at GCSE level improved from 2004 to 2005 in seven out of the 11 academies for which detailed performance data was available, but deteriorated in the other four.
It also found that a number of academies had been performing less well than the national average and other similar schools.
The report, carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers, said academies had a “very challenging starting point” because they replaced failing schools and educated some of the lowest-achieving pupils.
Most academies had pupils who were significantly less well off than the national average, while the proportion of pupils with special educational needs was far higher than in other mainstream schools.