Chrysalis Research undertook two waves of research for publishers into the development of the academies and academy chains. The first wave took place in February 2012 when there were 1,700 academies and the second wave in February 2013 when there were 2,700.

The research was carried out for a syndicate of publishers in the first year with follow up research conducted for OUP in the second year. The aim of the research was to look at the impact of the academy conversion programme on suppliers of products and services to schools.

We conducted research into the following areas:

• Formation and evolution of academy chains
• Use of curriculum freedoms
• Purchasing decisions and processes
• The changing role of technology
• Sponsorship and partnership arrangements

The research involved an analysis of DfE data releases and policy announcements, as well as published research into academies. This was then followed by qualitative research with school senior managers (head teachers, deputy heads and business managers). The research findings helped inform publishers’ sales strategies and product development processes.