Ofsted: Greenwood Academies Trust ‘let down pupils’
An inspection of six of the Greenwood multi-academy trust’s schools by the regulator found that three required special measures. Two were judged to be good and one was judged to require improvement.
Two of the four secondary academies that had previously been inspected had declined since their last inspection, and none had improved, the watchdog found.
Greenwood Academies Trust is the eleventh largest MAT in the country, running 31 academies located in the East Midlands and East of England.
The MAT was selected for a focused review because Ofsted’s analysis of its pupils’ outcomes in 2015 revealed “significant concerns” about underperformance.
Based on inspections of the six academies at the beginning of November, Ofsted concluded the trust had “not done enough” to identify the weaknesses of its academies or to support them to improve.
“Leaders have not spotted and reacted quickly enough to the underperformance of key groups of pupils across the trust, such as disadvantaged pupils and the most able pupils,” the inspection report states.
Ofsted said it was “deeply concerning” that across the trust only 26 per cent of disadvantaged pupils achieved five GCSEs at grades A* to C including English and mathematics compared to 57 per cent nationally.
For the most able pupils, only 54 per cent across the trust achieved a B or above in English and mathematics, placing it 14th out of 14 among large secondary MATs (a chain containing eight or more secondary academies) on this measure.
The regulator said the trust had “not been effective” in holding principals to account, and described governance as “ineffective, unwieldy and poorly understood by some principals and trust officers”.
However, Ofsted said that since the appointment in January 2016 of current chief executive, Wayne Norrie, the trust had “undergone a period of significant change and restructuring” and had “set clearer and higher expectations” of its schools this academic year.
But while the changes were “beginning to have some early impact in improving outcomes”, the regulator warned that it is “early days” and the impact so far is “extremely limited”.
In a statement, Greenwood Academies Trust said it accepted the majority of Ofsted’s findings. However it said it was “disappointed” that Ofsted had reported that the trust had “let down pupils”.
“This is inconsistent with recent Ofsted inspections of 20 academies in the trust, carried out independently of the focussed review,” the statement said.
Mr Norris said that most of the regulator’s findings came as “no surprise”. “They have confirmed that we have a clear understanding of the quality of teaching, pupils’ attainment and progress in our academies.”
He said he was pleased Ofsted recognised the changes made by the trust “are beginning to have some early impact”. “However, the recent developments have not yet had the time to make overarching, sustained improvements to the quality of education offered,” he added.