Falcon trust swoops on its third academy

Latest recruit for turnaround trust is first outside the north of England

Latest recruit for turnaround trust is first outside the north of England

24 Apr 2022, 5:00

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The government’s flagship turnaround trust has taken on its first school outside the north, notching up its third academy 19 months later than planned.

The government unveiled the Falcon Education Trust in 2019 to take on “the most challenging schools in the north”, recognising reforms had left some unwanted.

The King Solomon International Business School run by the Excell3 Independent Schools Trust, a standalone free school in Birmingham, joined the trust this month.

It comes almost four years after the school was rated “inadequate”, a grade issued just three years after it opened.

Excell3 received a termination warning notice in 2020.

The Christian school previously accused Ofsted of failing to consider its three years spent in temporary accommodation, which included using an “inflatable dome” as a canteen.

academy Falcon

The all-through school is only the third school to join Falcon, and marks its first foray into primary education. Falcon has previously blamed cancelled inspections during Covid for a “lack of new pipeline schools”.

Thornaby Academy in Stockton-on-Tees joined in 2020, and Royds Academy in Leeds in 2021. It had planned before Covid to reach three schools by September 2020.

But Schools Week reported in January on Falcon’s widened remit to go national. It aims to quickly transform challenging schools’ fortunes so other trusts will be willing to take them on.

Anne-Marie Holdsworth, Falcon’s chief executive (pictured), said it will be “increasingly be supporting schools from across the country”.

She highlighted its partnerships with other trusts and specialists, and said it would draw up a “bespoke plan” for King Solomon to improve outcomes “as swiftly as possible”.

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