Over 100 Failing Academies Placed In New Trusts

Legal Expert Says Openness Over Failure Needed For Lessons To Be Learned


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A legal expert from law firm Irwin Mitchell has said those behind the academy programme need to be open about causes of failures which have led to 119 academies being removed from their sponsors and placed in new trusts.

England's schools commissioner Sir David Carter told MPs sitting on the Commons Education Committee that the failing academies had been "re-brokered" as a last resort.

The Committee heard that some academies were doing no better than the failing schools they’d been before take over but Sir David added, the academies causing most concern were being supported to improve.

The schools commissioner said that out of 973 functioning multi-academy trusts in England, just seven had been inspected by Ofsted in "batched inspections", where a number of schools in an academy trust are inspected as a group due to concerns about performance.

Following the inspections, Ofsted raised concerns about the outcomes for pupils and accused some trusts of hoarding large sums of cash which should have been spent on pupils.

Sir David said that since September 2014, 68 of the academies which had been re-brokered had gone from a multi-academy trust to another multi-academy trust and 51 and gone from a single academy trust to a multi-academy trust.

He said that the “re-brokerage solution" was an important tool for the regional schools commissioners, who oversee standards in the academy system to challenge under-performance, but that it caused disruption for pupils and staff and came at a high expense.

Giving evidence to the Committee, Ofsted chief Sir Michael Wilshaw, said some multi-academy trusts had "been allowed to grow to far too quickly, without the capacity to improve their individual schools".

Education expert and Partner at law firm Irwin Mitchell, Laurence Gavin said that good governance needed to become a top priority over as schools convert to academy status.

Expert Opinion
It is always disappointing to see academies or schools failing but, no matter what system is in place there will always be a risk.

It will be important now for the Department of Education and others behind the academy programme to be open about the causes of failure so that advisers can help schools avoid problems.

Looking ahead there will be learning points, and good governance is likely to move to the top of the agenda as the sector changes, above the rate of school conversions.
Laurence Gavin, Partner

You can find out more information about Education services run by Irwin Mitchell on our IMEducate page.