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.
Five academies were inspected as part of the focused inspection in May. Four of these were full inspections and one was a monitoring inspection. The academies were all due for an inspection by the end of this academic year.
Along with the inspections, telephone discussions were held with leaders of five other academies within the trust and inspectors undertook a follow-up visit to WCAT’s national office. As part of this visit, discussions were held with the chief executive officer, senior and operational staff from the trust, headteachers, the chair of the board and partners. 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.
WCAT became a multi-academy trust in August 2013. The trust has grown significantly in the past two years, bringing failing schools into the trust at the request of the Department for Education (DfE) or local authorities. It now has academies in four local authorities: Wakefield, Doncaster, Sheffield and the East Riding of Yorkshire. The inclusion of an academy in Rotherham is imminent. Plans are well-advanced for two secondary and four primary academies to become part of WCAT by September 2015. This includes Carr Lane, a new purpose-built primary academy in Doncaster. Two schools judged good at the time of their inspection have asked to join WCAT. The trust’s education, business administrative and finance teams have expanded accordingly, all within an agreed DfE growth plan.
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 assesses council children’s services, and inspects services for looked after children, safeguarding and child protection.
Media can contact the Ofsted Press Office through 03000 130415 or via Ofsted’s enquiry line 0300 1231231 between 8.30am – 6.00pm, Monday – Friday. Out of these hours, during evenings and weekends, the duty press officer can be reached on 07919 057359.