The inspections are part of a concerted programme of action by Ofsted to establish the effectiveness of a multi-academy trust in supporting and challenging academy schools within individual chains.
Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMI) carried out monitoring inspections of 7 academies as part of the focused inspection between 1 and 5 December 2015. The academies were all due for an inspection by the end of this academic year.
Along with the inspections, telephone discussions were held with the principals of 16 other academies as well as with the chairs of local governing bodies, the Regional Schools Commisioner linked to E-ACT, and other representatives including local authority officers. A follow-up visit to E-ACT was also conducted where HMI held discussions with senior and operational staff, executive headteachers and principals, system leaders, trustees and other stakeholders. Inspectors also scrutinised a range of relevant documentation.
The Secretary of State for Education wrote to Ofsted on 22 January 2015 clarifying the arrangements for the focused inspection of academies. In the first week, Ofsted inspects a number of the trust’s academies. Inspectors also hold telephone conversations with other academy principals. In the following week, inspectors now visit multi-academy trust central offices and hold discussions with staff from the trust. They consider a range of other evidence alongside the results from the focused inspections.
E-ACT was set up in September 2009. The trust has 23 academies: 11 secondary; 11 primary; and one all-through academy. The academies are dispersed across 10 local authority areas in seven different Ofsted regions.
The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) regulates and inspects to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages. It regulates and inspects childcare and children’s social care, and inspects the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass), schools, colleges, initial teacher training, work-based learning and skills training, adult and community learning, and education and training in prisons and other secure establishments. It inspects services for looked after children, safeguarding and child protection.