Three academies issued a warning over results

Three of Doncaster’s biggest academies are among those warned about exam performance in a letter from a regional commissioner.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 29th December 2015, 1:21 pm
De Warenne Academy head teacher Gill Pollard after the schools Ofsted report. Picture: Andrew Roe

The letter said some schools run by Yorkshire’s biggest academy chain, School Partnership Trust Academies, including Doncaster’s Ash Hill, De Warenne and Don Valley, could be re-brokered to a different sponsor.

A letter from East Midlands and the Humber regional schools commissioner Jennifer Bexon-Smith tells the SPTA the academy chain had ‘grown relatively quickly’ and had capacity issues ‘preventing the trust from effectively supporting and challenging all of its academies’.

Regional schools commissioners are responsible for decision-making over academies.

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Her letter raises concerns about 13 schools including Ash Hill, De Warenne and Don Valley, which were at or below GCSE floor targets and suggests they could be moved to a different academy trust.

The commissioner says: “In all three cases SPTA has had the academies for a significant time (four years or more) and has yet to deliver a transformational change.”

Ms Bexon-Smith said the DfE was planning a more radical approach for Doncaster and has identified strong sponsors to take on under-performing academies and local authority maintained schools.

SPTA director of education Paul West said: “We are in ongoing discussions with the DfE to ensure the continued stability of SPTA academies, and progress and attainment for our students remains our shared highest priority.

“In relation to the specific academies mentioned we are providing individual and bespoke challenge and support to ensure their improvement needs are being met.”