DfE ‘minded to terminate’ funding of four academies

Four schools in the east midlands have been warned they face losing their funding and being rebrokered to new sponsors.

The Department for Education has today published four “minded to terminate” letters to sponsors of schools in Derbyshire and Leicestershire. The letters were sent to the trusts on September 6, but went unpublished for more than two months.

Hope Valley College in DerbyshireHinckley Academy and John Cleveland Sixth Form Centre in LeicestershireBrookfield Academy Trust in Derbyshire and Stafford Leys Community Primary School in Leicester all received letters from John Edwards, regional schools commissioner for the east midlands and the Humber.

The interventions at all four schools were prompted by Ofsted ‘inadequate’ ratings.

In each letters, Edwards said he needed to be “satisfied that this academy can achieve rapid and sustained improvement”.

If he is not satisfied with improvement at the schools, Edwards will “consider” issuing termination warning notices, he warned. Termination warning notices signal the start of the re-brokering process used to move struggling academies to new sponsors.

Each school was given 15 working days to respond to the letters, outlining the actions planned to remedy issues at the schools.

The letters were published today at a time of crisis for the government, following a number of high-profile ministerial resignations prompted by the EU withdrawal agreement.


UPDATE: On Friday November 16, Brookfield Academy Trust confirmed to Schools Week that, following the issuing of the warning notice, the school is due to join a new trust.

In a letter to parents, acting headteacher Richard Cronin said: “I would like to inform you that following extensive discussions between the regional schools commissioner, the independent headteachers’ panel, the national schools commissioner and Lord Agnew, the decision has been taken for Brookfield Community School to join Redhill Academy Trust.”

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  1. Hope Valley had a ‘relatively new’ principal when Ofsted visited in December 2017 at which point they found relationships between staff and senior leaders had broken down.
    Inspectors have not returned to monitor the school. In the meantime, its P8 score has risen from below average in 2017 to average (provisional) in 2018.
    The academy’s website says the schools ‘is currently in discussion with a Multi-Academy Trust’ about joining an academy network.
    Issuing a ‘Minding to Terminate’ letter in these circumstances appears to be unnecessary.