Heterogeneous effects of school autonomy in England

Lorenzo Neri*, Elisabetta Pasini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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A 2010 education reform gave English schools the option to become academies, autonomous but state-funded schools. Academies can opt for two different models of governance by choosing to remain standalone schools or join an academy chain. We investigate the causal effect of the governance model on student achievement and school inputs. We find that students in academy chains have higher end-of-primary school test scores, with stronger effects for low achievers and early converter academies. School chains are more efficient than standalone academies, achieving better results while spending less overall. Survey data suggest that chains favor management changes, whereas standalone academies make changes related to educational practices.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102366
Number of pages17
JournalEconomics of Education Review
Early online date5 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023


  • Autonomous schools
  • School governance
  • School performance


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