Update: Academy Transformation Trust responds after government blocks it from sponsoring more schools over concerns about standards

Ian Cleland of the Academy Transformation Trust talking to students at Hamond's High School. Picture: Ian Burt Ian Cleland of the Academy Transformation Trust talking to students at Hamond's High School. Picture: Ian Burt

Thursday, March 20, 2014
3:58 PM

An academy chain with seven schools in Norfolk and Suffolk has defended itself after ministers blocked it from expanding until it improves standards at its existing schools.

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The Academy Transformation Trust (ATT) is one of 14 chains in England the Department for Education has “restricted in full” from sponsoring new academies or free schools.

ATT currently sponsors Admirals Academy, Diamond Academy, Iceni Academy, Norwich Road Academy and The Nicholas Hamond Academy in Norfolk, and Mildenhall College Academy and Westbourne Academy in Suffolk.

Answering a parliamentary question, Department for Education minister Edward Timpson said: “When we do have concerns about the performance of academy sponsors, we act quickly by stopping them from taking on new projects, so that they focus on their existing schools and ensure that pupils receive a good education. Only when sponsors have demonstrated this are they then able to take on new academies.”

The Department for Education refused to give any reasons why ATT in particular had been restricted.

ATT chief executive Ian Cleland said it had been working closely with the Department of Education to grow ATT in “a stable and sustainable way that offers all our academies the best chance to become outstanding schools”.

He said: “Since inception we have been driving up standards which is reflected in the significant improvement at The Nicholas Hamond Academy which moved from 19pc pass rate at 5+A*-C grade including English and maths in 2012, to 44pc in 2013. At primary level, the focus on reading has resulted in half our academies already achieving national expectations in terms of progress from KS1.”

Mr Cleland had previously said the 19pc pass rate at Nicholas Hamond in 2012 was due to a clerical error by the school before it became an academy.

He added: “Following discussions with DfE in autumn last year, we have focused our expertise and time on consolidating our 16 academies. We look forward to seeing rapid improvement across all our academies and are expecting this to be reflected in the summer’s SATs, GCSE and A-level results. We will then look at how we can grow of family of academies in a measured and beneficial way.”

Cheryl Hill, principal at The Nicholas Hamond Academy, said: “The levels of improvement that have taken place at The Nicholas Hamond Academy in its first 18 months have been significant; not least a jump in the quality of teaching being judged good or better increasing from 29pc to 97pc.

“Our predicted results for summer 2014 show 5 A*-C including English and maths will further increase from 44pc to 55pc. In English 76pc and in maths 89pc of pupils will make expected progress or better, which will exceed national averages. Our pupils now enjoy coming to the academy more than ever and as a result attendance rates have increased by over three per cent, again above national average.”

Do your children go to an ATT school? What do you think of ATT? Comment below or email martin.george@archant.co.uk

13 comments

  • Iceni is terrible,the good teachers are being forced out and things have gone down hill since the head was removed. I wonder how much ATT gets for messing up a school.

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    Sweet cheeks

    Thursday, March 20, 2014

  • Iceni is terrible,the good teachers are being forced out and things have gone down hill since the head was removed. I wonder how much ATT gets for messing up a school.

    Report this comment

    Sweet cheeks

    Thursday, March 20, 2014

  • They've missed the boat. The DfE is backing de Souza to monopolise the academy sector. When the gravy train derails, the sponsors will realise their investment by closing the schools and selling the land for housing.

    Report this comment

    B Ungatory

    Thursday, March 20, 2014

  • All local accountability has been handed over to faceless academy chains, and when they don't work, to the delightful Michael Gove, a man that even the Speaker of the House of Commons told to shut up and write a thousand lines. Crazy, crazy world - made for solicitors who love the gravy train associated with transfer to academies.

    Report this comment

    Johnboy

    Thursday, March 20, 2014

  • They should be focussing on getting their current contingent sorted out rather than thinking about taking more schools into the fold. On the other hand, cynics might also say that blocking the likes of ATT from expanding has got more to do with supporting the empire building aspirations of more favoured academy chains in Norfolk.

    Report this comment

    Row71

    Saturday, March 22, 2014

  • Maybe Mick Castle can tell us all what has happened to the deeds of all the schools he has made his LEA pals force into Academy hands over the last year? The reason I ask is that it appears that public assets which run into tens of millions of pounds have been signed over to these Trusts with absolutely no consultation whatsoever. We've all paid towards these assets yet we no longer own them. Why has our local Labour group allowed this to happen right under their noses?

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Thursday, March 20, 2014

  • Sportswagon And I imagine you believe the moon landings were filmed in Hollywood as well as any other conspiracy theory out there. So where did you teach and what was the judgement?

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    One Horse Town

    Friday, March 21, 2014

  • For those that criticise Ofsted repeatedly (mostly retired teachers) in the EDP, please realise that without this inspection service situations like these would proliferate. Gove would prefer it if academies developed unchecked but he's saddled with accountability via the inspectorate. And no I'm not an inspector or a teacher.

    Report this comment

    One Horse Town

    Thursday, March 20, 2014

  • They've missed the boat. The DfE is backing de Souza to monopolise the academy sector. When the gravy train derails, the sponsors will realise their investment by closing the schools and selling the land for housing.

    Report this comment

    B Ungatory

    Thursday, March 20, 2014

  • We didn't really land on the moon did we?

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Sunday, March 23, 2014

  • Except One Horse Town Ofsted is creating these chains by putting schs into special measures which is the only way primary schs become academies since 96% of primary Heads and Governors nationally don't choose to become academies and now we can see why!!

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    Sportswagon

    Thursday, March 20, 2014

  • SPORTSWAGON Wrong! Ofsted doesn't create academies. They inspect - that's all. It's up to governments to act on the outcomes......which, so far, isn't happening.

    Report this comment

    One Horse Town

    Friday, March 21, 2014

  • .......and you believe this One Horse Town.....Ofsted is an implement of Government re-forced academisation.

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Friday, March 21, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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