Failing Norfolk academies given thousands in government grants to transfer to new trusts
PUBLISHED: 21:23 21 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:34 22 July 2019
Almost £360,000 of public funds has been spent to help academies in Norfolk transfer to new trusts in the past five years.
In total 15 academies in the county - some of which were judged to be inadequate by Ofsted - transferred to new trusts or sponsors between the 2013/14 and 2017/18 financial years.
Data from the Department for Education shows that seven trusts received grant funding from the Department for Education (DfE) to support a transfer - totalling £359,900.
This included £21,900 to the Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust (DNEAT) when it took on Open Academy in Norwich in September 2014, six years after it opened as Norfolk's first academy.
The largest grant, £101,000, covered the transfer of Thetford Alternative Provision Free School (now The Pinetree School) to the Engage Trust in April 2015.
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The second highest, £80,000, went to Ormiston Academies Trust when it took on Flegg High School in Martham in February 2018.
Lynn Grove Academy was rated inadequate and Woodlands Primary Academy required improvement when they transferred to the Creative Education Trust from the Lynn Grove Academies Trust in March 2015. The trust received £62,000 in grant funding for the transfers.
Downham Market Academy was also rated inadequate when it transferred to the Cambridgeshire Educational Trust in November 2017.
The Hellesdon-based Wensum Trust took on two new schools in October 2016 - the outstanding-rated Arden Grove Infant and Nursery School in Norwich and Acle Academy, which was rated inadequate at the time of the transfer.
Three Thetford primaries joined the Eastern Multi-Academy Trust (MAT) from the Birmingham-based Academy Transformation Trust in August 2017: Diamond Academy and Norwich Road Academy, which were judged to require improvement by Ofsted, and Admirals Academy, which was rated good. The trust received a £70,000 grant for the Diamond Academy transfer.
The Inspiration Trust took on two schools in the time period: Cromer Academy, from the Cromer Academy Trust, in September 2013; and Thetford Academy, previously run by Thetford Learning Trust, a year later, for which it received a £25,000 grant.
The DfE said grant funding provided after 2015/16 was not comparable with earlier years due to changes in what could be included in the total costs.