BREAKING: Forest Academy becomes latest E-Act school to get new sponsor

An academy in Gloucestershire is the latest school to be relinquished by struggling chain E-Act, with a nearby FE college due to take on its sponsorship.

South Gloucestershire and Stroud College (SGS) has announced it will become the new sponsor of Forest Academy, formerly Heywood Community School, in Cinderford in the Forest of Dean.

Last September, E-Act announced the transfer of eight of its schools to new sponsors following negotiations with the Department for Education.

The school is reported to have known about the possibility of the transfer since February last year, when its headteacher Tanya Prosser confirmed to The Guardian that she had been contacted by E-Act about the future of its dealings with the sponsor.

The school, which converted to academy status in 2012, was told it “required improvement” by Ofsted following a visit in May 2013.

SGS principal and chief executive Kevin Hamblin said: ‘The town of Cinderford needs a strong, successful and vibrant secondary school.

“Currently, the school faces challenges to improve the academic performance at GCSE level and also to capitalise on the growth opportunities available.

“SGS will be able to provide considerable support to the school and we will be working with staff, parents and pupils to relaunch the school from September 2015.

“We are developing a brand new enhanced curriculum with an extensive vocational offer and with immediate effect we will provide additional classroom support for all students and a comprehensive enrichment programme.”

He said college governors would discuss a due diligence report in late January, with the formal transfer taking place on March 1, with E-Act having agreed that SGS can operate as the sponsor under licence from the date of ministerial approval.

Forest Academy chair Neill Ricketts said: ‘Forest Academy is excited about the prospect of working with SGS.

“They have the capacity and expertise to really transform the school. A local sponsor will be able to work a lot closer with the school, and our pupils can access learning resources, expert teaching and support staff.”

E-Act is yet to comment.

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