Following the announcement of today’s A-level results, a recent argument put forward by Labour leadership contender Andy Burnham, to phase out academy schools, has lost its efficacy.

A record number of students – over 400,000 – have been accepted onto university courses this year, with 362,000 getting their first choice of course, which is up three per cent on last year’s figure.

With the overall pass rate at 98.1 per cent, the Government’s education reforms (including the decision to implement academies and free schools) have clearly achieved a positive outcome.

This is particularly true when it is considered that there has been a four per cent rise in the number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds getting a place at university.

However, earlier this month, Andy Burnham – who is currently the shadow health secretary – argued that academies and free schools should be phased out, so that schools under local authority control could become the UK norm once again.

Mr Burnham also made clear his opinion that all schools admissions should be managed by local education authorities.

Despite some critics commenting that the number of those getting A* or A grades this year has fallen slightly, this is primarily due to a new Government cap, which means that results are linked to the same cohort’s GCSE grades.

Mr Burnham’s manifesto, meanwhile, stated that: “I believe in comprehensive education.

“I will bring forward a new vision to reinvigorate it for the 21st century, based on true parity between academic and technical education.

“I will restore a local role in overseeing schools, rejecting the growing market of free schools and academies.”

However, the value of his goals has been called into question by free school and academy leaders, particularly as this year’s A-level results have seen more students from every country in the UK achieving a place in higher education than at the same point 12 months ago.

In England and Scotland the increase for those heading to university is three per cent, while in Wales and Northern Ireland there has been a one per cent rise.

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