Another £5m up for grabs in northern schools ‘hub revolution’ – but only academy trusts can apply

Academy sponsors are being invited to bid for a slice of the remaining £5 million cash pot to improve northern schools – with more hubs in the pipeline.

Nicky Morgan announced in November the five academy sponsors given half of a £10 million war chest to drive up standards, including setting up seven new academy hubs in five targeted northern areas.

Now the remaining £5 million pounds has gone up for grabs to academy sponsors with a “strong track record” of improving schools.

Applicants are wanted to support and develop another set of academy hubs, with the potential for at least six hubs in another five areas.

The deadline for applications is January 29.


Where are the new hubs?

 Greater Manchester:

The Department for Education says there is the potential to develop one hub for up to seven schools in the region, mostly to help Ofsted rated “inadequate” secondaries.


Two hubs could be established, one in North Humber covering East Riding and Hull, and one in South Humber covering North and North East Lincolnshire.

Each hub would help six schools with a history of underperformance and at risk of coasting.


One hub would cover the areas of Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton and Wirral, with the potential to help from three to seven schools.

North East Coast and Darlington:

A large hub would operate across the six local authorities of South Northumberland, North and South Tyneside, Sunderland, Durham and Darlington.

The hub would have at least six schools and could also join with good schools to increase capacity.

South Yorkshire:

The DfE wants one or more hubs to support more than six schools each. They would stretch across the four local authorities of Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield and mostly support schools with a history of underperformance and judged “inadequate” by Ofsted.


Picture: Chancellor George Osborne announcing the £10 million pound cash pot to help support struggling schools in the north in his 2014 Autumn statement.

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  1. And yet there’s increasing evidence that inadequate schools are more likely to remain inadequate if they become academies than if they remained as LA schools. The Government is still throwing money at the academy initiative when the National Audit Office found informal interventions such as local support were better than academy conversion. But the Government thinks only academy trusts are competent enough to provide this support.