Must try harder! 30 academies sent 'pre-warning' letters to improve performance

DfE says 'results in a minority of sponsored academies remain stubbornly low'

Education Editor

More than 30 academies have been warned they must pull their socks up - or their sponsor could face the sack, the Government disclosed today.

Figures show 34 academies were issued with "pre-warning" letters - demanding urgent action to improve their performance or face being issued with a formal warning as a prelude to losing their sponsor if they fail to heed it.

In six cases, sponsors have been sacked and replaced in a sign that ministers do not intend to give their academies an "easy ride".

The 34 are the first to be given warning notices - none was issued during Labour's term of office.  Since the Coalition Government took office, the number of academies has expanded from just 203 to 3,416.

A spokesman for the Department for Education said that "results in a minority of sponsored academies remain stubbornly low",  "We will not tolerate long-term under-performance in any school - including in an academy," he added.

He added:  "If these academies still do not make the progress we expect, we will take further action.  This may result in a change to the sponsorship arrangements."

In the case of a sponsor with a chain of academies, it could lead to it being barred from taking on any new projects.

In one case, Thetford Academy in Norfolk, which brought together two schools at the opposite end of a housing estate, there was strong local opposition to the academy and staff and pupils from the two schools were in open conflict when it opened.  The original principal and vice-principal quit within the first two terms and GCSE results to just 28 per cent achieving five top grade A* to C grade passes including maths and English.

Education standards watchdog Ofsted found achievement was too low, there was too much inadequate teaching, attendance was persistently low, behaviour was inadequate and attitudes to learning "left much to be desired".

The sponsors - three local colleges - acknowledge they did not have the resources to put things right - and were replaced by the Inspiration Trust who put in Rachel de Souza, a head who had successfully turned the Ormiston Victory Academy, also in Norfolk, round - increasing the GCSE "pass" rate by 30 percentage points in two years.

Department officials say that - in the vast majority of cases - the pre-warning letters have done the trick - with GCSE results improving by an average of 16 percentage points in the eight academies given pre-warning notices in 2011/12.  Ministers are expecting a similar increase with most of the rest when this year's individual school results are published in January.

In one case, the John Madejski Academy in Reading, the school had never reached the Government's minimum target of 35 per cent getting five A* to B grades at GCSE including maths and english.  A new principal was appointed who oversaw a 12 percentage point increase to 45 per cent this year.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Opilio Recruitment: Product Development Manager

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We are currently recruit...

Recruitment Genius: Qualified Nursery Practitioner - Sevenoaks

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently have an opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Room Leader - Nursery

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently have an opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Assessor / Trainer

£25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas