This is the first coordinated inspection of constituent schools belonging to a single academy chain.
Over a period of 2 weeks, Her Majesty’s inspectors conducted inspections of 16 E-ACT academies where they judged the effectiveness of each school and also gathered information about the impact of the support and challenge given to the academies by the Trust.
The inspections found that an overwhelming proportion of pupils attending those 16 academies were not receiving a good education:
- 11 academies were failing to provide a good education; including five that were judged to require special measures
- 10 academies had not improved since their previous inspection (either as an academy or as the predecessor school). Of these, 6 academies had declined in terms of their Ofsted grade (two had been sponsored by E-ACT for 4 years or more)
- 4 academies were judged to be good’ and one was judged outstanding
Evidence from the inspections indicates that intervention and support provided by E-ACT was ineffective overall. For those academies judged to require special measures, the Trust failed to take effective action to improve performance.
During the inspections, senior staff informed inspectors that E-ACT had, until 1 September 2013, deducted a proportion of the pupil premium funding from each academy. It is unclear how these deducted funds were being used to improve outcomes for disadvantaged pupils.
In addition the inspections highlighted key weaknesses across many of the 16 academies. These included:
- poor quality teaching, with the work set in lessons inadequately matched to pupils’ abilities
- weak monitoring and poor use of performance data by senior leaders who did not know where teaching needed to improve
- failure to give pupils a clear understanding of how to improve through effective marking and assessment
- poor quality assurance by middle leaders
- a lack of urgency in taking effective action to close the gap between disadvantaged pupils and others
- insufficiently challenging lessons for more-able students
- weak governance
Michael Cladingbowl, National Director of Schools, Ofsted, said:
The outcomes of these inspections indicate that E-ACT has not been effective in improving its academies. While it is reassuring that some Principals of individual academies report recent improvements to the Trust’s leadership, inspectors have yet to see this impacting on standards.
Ofsted is determined to shine a light wherever we have concerns about the quality of education and, where necessary, we will continue to monitor the individual schools within the Trust to ensure progress is being made.
E-ACT was selected for these inspections due to concerns about the overall performance of academies within the Trust. Of their academies that had previously been inspected 11 out of the 18 were less than good. In addition KS4 attainment is poor across E-ACT academies, including for children eligible for free school meals.
The findings have been reported directly to the leadership of E-ACT and the Secretary of State.
Notes to editors:
- The outcome letter is available online: this includes an annex naming all of the academies inspected and the individual judgements where these have been published.
- All the academies selected for inspection fortnight were due to be inspected during the current academic year. As with all standard s5 inspections, an individual inspection report will be published for each school. Of the academies inspected, 6 were primary and 10 were secondary.
- 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 Support Service (Cafcass), academies, 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.