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Sponsors running 20 Midland academies banned from expanding

Fourteen organisations across region blocked from opening new schools amid concerns over standard of lessons

Sponsors who run more than 20 Midland schools have been barred from fresh expansion amid concerns over the standard of lessons they provide.

Fourteen organisations running a total of 14 academies in Birmingham, the Black Country and elsewhere were hit with the ban.

The sponsors involved included E-ACT, which was previously ordered to hand over the management of some of its schools to a different provider following damning Ofsted reports.

Snap Ofsted inspections on 16 of its schools found 11 were failing to provide a “good” education, although Heartlands Academy in Nechells was rated “outstanding”.

In a written Parliamentary document, Education Minister Edward Timpson did not name any individual schools at the centre of concerns.

But the Department for Education said the ban was designed to ensure organisations running schools focused on meeting their current responsibilities instead of taking on more.

“All children deserve a first-class education and we make no apologies for wanting high standards in all schools,” a spokeswoman said.

“We are tough on under-performance in any school – be it an academy or a council-run school.

“When we have concerns about the performance of academy sponsors, we act quickly.

“We stop them taking on new projects, so they focus on their existing schools, and ensure pupils get a good education.

“When they have demonstrated this, they are able to take on new academies.”

But Birmingham Labour MP Steve McCabe (Hall Green), a Shadow Education Minister, said the revelations would raise questions about the quality of school management.

He said: “There is no good in the minister publishing a list of sponsors he has doubts about unless he is willing to tell us the nature of those doubts.

“If they are not good enough to take on any new schools, why are they good enough to run existing schools?”

E-ACT runs six schools in Birmingham, one in Willenhall and two in Walsall.

The order also covered the Academies Enterprise Trust, which runs five academies in Birmingham and one in Tamworth; the Academy Transformation Trust, which runs schools in Walsall and Oldbury; City of Wolverhampton Academy Trust; and the Grace Foundation, which runs schools in Solihull and Walsall.

 

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