Multi-academy trusts to form landmark partnership to drive up standards

Multi-academy trusts to form landmark partnership to drive up standards

Two large multi-academy trusts have announced a pioneering partnership, which will see them work together to drive up standards in the north of England.

Outwood Grange Academies Trust (OGAT) and School Partnership Trust Academies (SPTA) will work in “close collaboration” to improve schools.

The announcement coincides with the publication of a critical Ofsted inspection into SPTA, which runs 43 schools.

Inspectors said the trust’s work to deliver improvement in its struggling schools was “too slow”.

Outwood Grange, however, was recently one of five trusts given a share of £5 million in government funding to drive up standards in schools in the north of England.

The trust, based in Wakefield, Yorkshire, runs 17 schools and was recently praised by schools minister Nick Gibb for how pupils performed in their GCSEs last summer.

The trusts have said the partnership is a first for two large academy chains.

SPTA, also based in Yorkshire, has announced that Paul Tarn has will take over as chief executive. Mr Tarn was previously the deputy chief executive at OGAT.

He replaces Sir Paul Edwards who left at the end of last year.

Mr Tarn said: “I am looking forward to working with colleagues and the board at SPTA to make the trust an outstanding provider of education for young people in the north of England.”

Steve Hodsman, SPTA’s chair, added: “Paul is a national leader of education with an outstanding record of rapid school improvement and has many years of experience working alongside Sir Michael Wilkins and the OGAT board of directors.”

The partnership comes at an important time for the future operations of multi-academy trusts.

This month, schools commissioner Sir David Carter revealed his plans to create four tiers of academy chains – headed by “system leaders”, large chains with 30 or more schools.

Brian Lightman, former general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders and now school leader consultant, said: “If this partnership helps collaboration and leads to best practice being shared further then that must be a good thing.

“One of the biggest challenges we have is getting consistency because the system has become so fragmented.”