Academy chain to give up 10 schools

Banbury Cake: E-Act will relinquish control of 10 of its academies and new sponsors will be found E-Act will relinquish control of 10 of its academies and new sponsors will be found

One of England's biggest academy chains is to hand over control of almost a third of its schools amid continuing concerns about under-performance.

E-Act will relinquish control of 10 of its academies in total and new sponsors will be found, it has been revealed. The chain will retain control of its other 24 academies.

The move comes after a series of Ofsted inspections highlighted weaknesses, the Telegraph reported.

A Department for Education (DfE) spokeswoman said it was working with the chain to find " excellent sponsors who will ensure the re-brokered schools are able to thrive".

She said: " We will take swift action to address under-performance in all schools - no matter who controls them. That is as true for academies and free schools as it is for council-run schools.

"We welcome E-Act's decision to hand over a number of their academies to new sponsors. We hope this will mean E-Act can focus on raising standards in their remaining schools."

A spokeswoman for E-Act said: "E-Act has been working with the DfE to identify where we are best placed to make a significant difference to our academies.

"Our pupils, parents and staff deserve strong support and leadership. Our focus is on where we can provide this and to allow others to deliver elsewhere."

Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw last week told the Commons education select committee that the inspectorate had been looking at the performance of schools in the E-Act chain and planned to write to Education Secretary Michael Gove with its findings.

At that time an Ofsted spokeswoman said: "Ofsted has just completed a series of scheduled inspections over a two-week period of 16 schools which are part of the E-Act multi-academy trust.

"During these visits, inspectors have been asking additional questions to ascertain the extent to which the support and challenge provided by the trust is helping to raise standards for pupils, and improve overall school performance."

Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt MP said: "David Cameron and Michael Gove are allowing underperformance to go unchecked in academy schools and free schools. The complete lack of local oversight and the practice of allowing unqualified teachers in these schools has meant poor standards of education are allowed to set in.

"Michael Gove is refusing to take the action that is needed to prevent standards slipping."

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