Greenwood Academies Trust set to lose two schools

The Greenwood Academies Trust will be stripped of two schools after Ofsted questioned its ability to drive improvement without a “balanced portfolio” of academies.

The trust, which runs 31 schools across the east of England and the East Midlands, has now been told by the government to rebroker the City of Derby Academy and Skegness Academy.

It is the latest trust to be criticised for not driving improvement at its most challenging schools.

It was told in December that it had “let down pupils over a number of years” after a focused Ofsted inspection of six of its schools found half required special measures.

Chief executive Wayne Norrie (pictured) said running challenging schools meant the trust “does not have a balanced portfolio.

“Unsurprisingly, in a recent review Ofsted challenged our capacity to provide adequate support to the academies in the group.”

Norrie said that while the trust was “hugely disappointed” it was “vital that we review our portfolio and strive to achieve a balance of schools.

“During this period of change we are working closely with our pupils, staff, parents and trade unions to minimise disruption.”

Ofsted challenged our capacity to provide adequate support to the academies in the group

Parents at the Skegness Academy, in Lincolnshire, have been told that the government has named the David Ross Education Trust (DRET) as the new preferred sponsor.

DRET runs the only other secondary in the town, Skegness Grammar. A spokesperson for the trust told the Lincolnshire Live website that it was completing due diligence for the takeover, but insisted no decision had yet been made and there were still “key areas that need to be explored”.

Schools Week revealed last week that several senior figures at DRET have resigned, including chief executive Wendy Marshall and chair David Blunkett.

Parents at the City of Derby Academy have been told that Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Ashbourne, is the preferred sponsor.

Queen Elizabeth’s did not respond to a request for comment as Schools Week went to press.

Ofsted rated City of Derby inadequate after a focused inspection of the trust in November last year. Inspectors said trustees had “not held leaders to account for continued poor performance, nor kept sound oversight of the school’s improvement and school finances”.

It also found Greenwood, set up in 2009, had not done enough to identify the “weaknesses and needs” of its academies.

But Ofsted said the trust had improved overall effectiveness in 20 schools. The trust said at the time that it accepted the majority of the watchdog’s findings, but was disappointed with the claim that it had let down pupils.

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  1. Janet Downs

    The DfE bears ultimate responsibility. It allowed Greenwood Academies Trust to grow an unbalanced portfolio in the same way other MATs, E-Act, AET, TKAT, CfBT, were also allowed to grow too quickly.

    At the same time, Michael Gove poured praise over a small group of favoured heads. But academy trusts connected to many of these have been Ofsted criticised and/or sent Financial Notices to Improve: Liam Nolan (Perry Beeches), Sir Greg Martin (Durand), Sir Peter Birkett (Barnfield), Patricia Sowter CBE (Cuckoo Hall), Sajid Hussain Raza (King’s Science Academy in prison for fraud). Now Sir Barry Day, former CEO of Greenwood Academies Trust and one of Gove’s Magnificent Seven, joins the list.

  2. The government should take full responsibility for its actions, after all it’s their legislation that has led to this mess! Don’t blame the academy chains as they were doing what the government wanted! Schools removed from the state system that was geared up to theses chalanges for decades, but as it did not fit the current governments mind set of a free market then too hell with common sense!
    We now see cuts in education, real cuts by changes to the way schools are funded, and yet the prime minister stands in Westminster hiding behind figures that appear to show increase to funding but it only applies to free schools and grammar schools! Strip theses out of the equation and then let’s see the true funding cuts for every one else who’s not a free school or a grammar school!

  3. Daniel

    I agree the government has massive blame here but surely we need to look far more closely at how these Trusts are ran? Massive salaries for CEO’s and directors (£200,000 !) and no consequences for failing in their duty to provide quality education. Staff at these Trusts are quickly disregarded but the real issue, the Trust board members, remain and continue to under perform and earn wages above their capabilities!