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News archive - March/April 2018

‘Inadequate’ schools face long wait for academy conversion

‘Inadequate’ schools face long wait for academy conversion

Over 60 schools, which were ranked “inadequate” by Ofsted, have been waiting 17 months for an academy trust to take over their running.

New rules, introduced last year, make it mandatory for the Government to ensure that such schools are converted to academy status. However, 65 schools are still waiting for a Multi Academy Trust (MAT) which is prepared to take them on.

During the past 12 months, some 1,120 schools converted to academy status and the number of MATs registered to take over schools has risen from 800 to around 1,000.

Against this, the annual report by Ofsted states that a total of 170 local authority maintained schools received the lowest possible rating in April 2016.

Some 113 of these maintained schools have also triggered an academy order as a result of poor performance but are still operating in their current form and 22 have no planned date for conversion.

The inability to find sponsors for some failing schools has become a particular issue. To assist, additional funding totalling around £7 million is now being offered by the Department for Education as an incentive to take over these challenging schools.

Laura Ambrose, Head of Education Services at the business adviser Hasler, said: “Sponsoring any school that wishes to join your MAT requires careful due diligence to ensure that there are no additional skeletons in the cupboard which may cause issues for the new trustees and CEOs.

“Even though a school may have been rated as inadequate, there are opportunities for a successful turnaround with a strong Trust at the helm.”

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