Latest Educational News

Academy funding cuts among George Osborne's spending review announcements

by TES, November 25, 2015

Classified as Academies.

Thousands of schools will face significant extra cuts, despite a far better than expected Department for Education spending settlement, it emerged today.

Academy chain is failing pupils good and bad

by The Times, July 21, 2014

Classified as Academies.

Bosses of a chain of academies have been criticised by Ofsted for having more poor schools than good and letting down pupils.
Fewer than half the 39 schools run by Kemnal Academies Trust are rated good and none is outstanding.
Ofsted inspected six of its primary schools in the same fortnight, because of wider concerns about the chain’s performance.

Two schools will be one academy

by Oxford Mail, June 7, 2014

Classified as Academies.

TWO Bicester schools will be the first in the town to convert to academy status.

Cooper Secondary School and Glory Farm Primary School will become Bicester Learning Academy from July 1.

It comes months after the schools, which formed Bicester Federation of Learning in 2012, were granted permission by the Government last year.

A consultation was launched last November and this week the proposals to opt out of local authority control were approved by both school governing bodies.

The academy has been registered at Companies House as a charitable company, and is aimed at promoting education for public benefit.

Whitchurch school is converting to an academy

by Shropshire Star, June 6, 2014

Classified as Academies.

Sir John Talbot's Technology College in Whitchurch will become an academy at the start of the new school year following a month-long consultation.

The school is currently under the control of an interim executive board (IEB) after a damning report by Ofsted in 2013, and the associate headteacher from The Marches School in Oswestry David O'Toole - who had been seconded to Sir John Talbot's as headteacher until August - has now been appointed as headteacher designate.

In March last year the Oswestry school was approached by Shropshire Council to provide support to Sir John Talbot's to help it improve after it had fallen into special measures.

The IEB applied to the Department for Education for Sir John Talbot's to become an academy in February, with The Marches Academy Trust as sponsor.

The Marches School in Oswestry will now sponsor the the school and continue to support it going forward.

Sponsored academy status is designed for 'underperforming' schools where standards still need to be raised.

St Bede Academy offers parents private nursery care as well as breakfast and after-school clubs

by Independent, June 6, 2014

Classified as Academies.

Across the grounds of St Bede Academy in Bolton come the sounds of children playing and learning. But this is not just the excited laughter of the school's 450 infant and junior pupils and the 30 children in the school's nursery class. There are also 100 children in Baby Bede, the first private nursery in the UK to be opened and controlled by a state school.
St Bede has been leading the way in an early years revolution since Baby Bede opened in 2003. Baby Bede can take children as young as six weeks old and is open 52 weeks a year. Children can attend the nursery and older chidren can have breakfast and go to after-school clubs from 7.30am until 6pm.

The Education minister Elizabeth Truss recently returned from a visit to St Bede's calling it the "future" of early years provision and describing its headteacher, Jack Hatch, as a "hero". Hatch, 66, who has led St Bede since 1992, began his revolution around 15 years ago when he commissioned external providers to run an after-school

Essex: Schools commissioner calls for more academies in county to raise standards

by EADT, June 4, 2014

Classified as Academies.

Frank Green, who ran a chain of academies for five years, is in Colchester this morning to meet heads and governors.

There are now 137 open academies in Essex. Secondary academies account for 83% of all secondary schools in the county, with primary academies making up 16% of all primary schools.

Mr Green suggested a greater number of academies, which enjoy more autonomy from the local authority, was leading to higher levels of attainment among pupils, citing statistics that 77% of academies are rated “good” or “outstanding” by Ofsted.

Mr Green said: “I want to see all schools in Essex achieving the very best for their pupils. I have seen first-hand a number of brilliant schools here – but there are still cases where children are not getting the first class education they deserve.

Academy school chain becomes first to close

by BBC, May 20, 2014

Classified as Academies.

The Department for Education (DfE) has confirmed that Prospects Academies Trust, which runs six schools, will be the first academy chain to close.

The trust has schools in Devon, Gloucestershire and East Sussex.

The government says it is looking for sponsors to take them over, and pupils will not be disrupted.

Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, has urged the government to avoid "a kind of fire sale".

The union, which represents 40 staff in the schools, has called for a proper system of dealing with the failure of academy chains.

Helping children with special needs achieve their best

by Crewe Chronicle, May 9, 2014

Classified as Academies.

The Cheshire Academy of Integrated Sport and Arts has produced many Olympic and world champions.

Gymnasts Victoria Perez and Omar Haddad are just two of many.

Last year the centre won a record-breaking 127 medals at the National Special Olympic Games in Bath.

But while the medal winners get all the publicity, the work Jane Whetnall and Iain Chalmers do behind the scenes with children with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and behavioural problems is rarely reported.

"Although people know us because of our sporting success, really it’s our work with families which is most important,” said Iain. “Once the children start succeeding, once they start coming round as a team we find it builds the esteem within the family.”

Academy status will "open avenues" for Catholic school

by The Canterbury Times, May 7, 2014

Classified as Academies.

A CATHOLIC school has joined an academy trust to develop its links with others in Kent.

St Anselm’s became an academy as part of the Kent Catholic Schools’ Partnership at the start of this month and school leaders hope it will help ensure pupils are given the best possible education.

The change followed a successful Ofsted inspection in February.

Michael Walters, head teacher at the Canterbury school, said: “This is an exciting development for the school.

COUNTRY'S HIGHEST PAID PRIMARY HEADTEACHER SHOWN TO BE 'EARNING £230,000'

by Edexec Magazine, May 7, 2014

Classified as Academies.

Accounts published by the Durand Academy in south London show that its executive head, Sir Greg Martin, saw his total pay and pension pot rise by 56% last year.

A headteacher is believed to have become Britain's highest paid primary school leader after being given a total pay package of almost £230,000, The Telegraph reports.

Sir Greg Martin, executive head of Durand Academy in south London, saw his salary and pension increase by around 56% in 2013 to a total of £229,138 - meaning he was paid more than the Prime Minister.

Teachers' leaders criticised the disclosure, saying it was "remarkably hard to see how this can possibly be justified".

It comes just weeks after figures showed that the number of headteachers earning six-figure salaries had soared by more than a quarter in just two years to 900.

Exclusive: Academy conversion does not raise primary test results, analysis suggests

by TES, May 7, 2014

Classified as Academies.

Low performing primaries that have been converted to sponsored academies are improving at a slower rate than their conventional state school counterparts, a new analysis of national test results claims.

The figures cast doubt on the effectiveness of the government’s key primary improvement policy of turning schools with poor results into academies.

They also undermine the Department for Education’s assertion that “brilliant” academy sponsors are leading to faster increases in test scores than those in non-academy state primary schools.

The analysis of government figures by the Local Schools Network (LSN) compares primaries starting from similar test scores, with similar proportions of disadvantaged pupils. It suggests that in every case non-academies are actually improving faster than their sponsored academy equivalents.

Pioneering school secures funding through new partnership to spread museum learning principles

by Slough & South Bucks. Observer, May 6, 2014

Classified as Academies.

The Langley Academy has teamed up with the River and Rowing Museum to encourage museums to work more closely with secondary and primary schools.

The new partnership has been set up thanks to a £138,600 grant from Arts Council England.

It will be used to set up teacher and museum champions to align museum programmes with school curriculums across the region.

Rhodri Bryant, principal at The Langley Academy, said: “We are extremely excited. We aim to continue to embed museum learning into the culture of the academy, developing on what we have achieved so far.

HEADS TO CONSIDER SCRAPPING SIX-WEEK SUMMER BREAK

by Edexec Magazine, May 6, 2014

Classified as Academies.

The government gave academies and free schools in England permission to vary term times earlier this academic year.

Headteachers are to investigate the benefits of scrapping the six-week summer holidays, the BBC reports.

Russell Hobby, head of the NAHT, questioned whether the current 13-week term structure was healthy for staff, arguing changing it could reduce stress and cut holiday prices for families.

But headteachers wanted more evidence of the benefits of such changes.

The government gave academies and free schools in England permission to vary term times earlier this academic year. This is due to be extended to all state schools next September.

Financial Investigation Into Academy Chain

by Edexec Magazine, May 2, 2014

Classified as Academies.

The EFA has raised a series of financial concerns about the Education Fellowship Trust, including £20,000 for a "research trip" to New York and more than £600 for customised umbrellas.

An investigation into an academy provider has found "highly unusual" financial practices, the BBC reports.

The Education Funding Agency report highlights concerns about the Education Fellowship Trust. It questions governors' expenses of £45,000, a trip to New York and unadvertised jobs for family members.

The chief executive has since stepped down and the report notes that the new chief is "committed to improving the performance of the academies".

Bushey Academy praised for GCSE performance

by Get West London, May 2, 2014

Classified as Academies.

An academy in Bushey has been named one of the best in the country for student progress at GCSE.

The Bushey Academy received national recognition for the value it adds to students’ achievements at GCSE.

A recent in-depth analysis of official Department for Education data on all state-funded schools in England at SSAT, the national schools’ membership organisation for improvement and collaboration, identified The Bushey Academy’s success.

The school has qualified for an SSAT Educational Outcomes Award by being in the top 20 per cent of schools nationally for progress made by pupils between their key stage 2 results at primary school and their GCSE results at age 16.

Damning Ofsted reports into academy chain schools heap pressure on Michael Gove

by The Independent, March 25, 2014

Classified as Academies.

An “overwhelming proportion” of pupils attending one of the country’s biggest academy chains fail to receive a good education, according to a damning inspection report.

There is an “urgent need” for E-ACT, which has 34 schools on its books, to improve the quality of its teaching, according to the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted).

Ofsted is forbidden by law from inspecting academy chains. However, because of concerns over standards at E-ACT schools, it mounted 16 separate inspections of individual schools run by the sponsor. The watchdog’s critical verdict will heap more pressure on the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, to bow to demands to allow the watchdog to inspect chains.

A good day to bury bad news? 14 academy chains barred from running more schools – revealed on Budget Day

by The Independent, March 20, 2014

Classified as Academies.

Fourteen academy chains have been barred from running more schools because of concerns over, among other things, the standards and financial management in the ones they run now, MPs have been told.

The 14 chains, which include the biggest – Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) – are responsible for running about 200 state schools between them.

The news, which emerged on Wednesday, Budget Day, has fuelled claims that the Coalition Government took advantage of the Chancellor’s speech to bury bad news.

DfE bars 14 academy chains from taking on more schools

by The Telegraph, March 19, 2014

Classified as Academies.

More than a dozen academy chains have been barred from running more schools amid serious concerns over education standards and financial mismanagement, it has emerged.

The Department for Education revealed that 14 organisations – currently sponsoring 170 academies – are unable to expand until urgent improvements are made.

Ministers said the chains would be prevented from “taking on new projects” to put a renewed focus on driving up standards in their existing schools, although the Government insisted the number of groups hit by restrictions had actually fallen in the last six months.

Academies 'promising trend' says OECD

by BBC, March 6, 2014

Classified as Academies.

The most successful education systems combine local autonomy for schools with strong public accountability, the OECD's education expert has told MPs.

Andreas Schleicher, in charge of the international Pisa tests, faced questions from MPs about how he thought England's academy system was working.

Mr Schleicher said the global evidence suggested local flexibility for schools was linked to higher results.

He described free-standing academies as a "promising trend".

School federations v academies: why is the government so keen on the latter?

by Guardian, March 4, 2014

Classified as Academies.

Lord Nash, the academies minister, was persistent with his questioning. "Why don't you become an academy?" he asked school governor Ian Courtney at their meeting. Then he repeated the question in a different way: "Why wouldn't you want to become an academy?"

Courtney, by his own account, replied: "Why would I?"

Courtney's report of the meeting last September at the Department for Education goes to the heart of the debate about the merits of various forms of school organisation that has been taking place since 2010. Do schools decide to take the dramatic and difficult-to-reverse step of leaving their local authority to become an academy, as ministers enthusiastically advocate? Would they be better off staying with the local authority? Or is there a third way?

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