Doncaster academy trust ‘must improve’ say Ofsted

Nick Hudson, Ofsted
Nick Hudson, Ofsted

An academy chain which teaches thousands of children across Doncaster has been warned by Ofsted that too many of its schools have been underperforming for too long.

Education watchdogs ruled the School Partnership Trust Academies, which runs 10 schools, must improve. It comes after inspections at six of its primary schools found that five were less than good.

A letter from Ofsted’s regional director for Yorkshire Nick Hudson said: “Five out of the six academies are not providing a good quality of education.

“In one academy, SPTA has failed to tackle significant weaknesses in leadership and management which have declined to inadequate. Above all, there are too many underperforming academies which have remained in this position for too long.”

None of the school’s visited were in Doncaster, but the trust runs De Warenne Academy in Conisbrough, Rossington All Saints Academy and Don Valley Academy in Scawthorpe, as well as feeder schools. St Wilfrid’s Academy in Bessacarr will become a free school under the trust’s sponsorship in September.

Ofsted visited six SPTA academies across the wider region last month and found four were judged to “require improvement”, one was rated as “inadequate” and one was judged to be “good.” Inspectors identified key weaknesses in teaching.

The SPTA said Ofsted’s comments were “largely drawn from a small sample of six schools”. and across the group almost half of its primaries and a third of secondary academies were good or better.

The trust said Rowena Academy in Conisbrough was rated as “outstanding”, while Highfields Primary Academy has recently moved from “requires improvement” to “good.”

A spokeswoman said: “There is ample evidence which when compared to national trends and statistics, confirms the board’s belief that SPTA is a highly effective sponsor.”