Inspiration Trust praised by minister

Schools minister, Nick Gibb, left, during an assembly at the Jane Austen College before the official

Schools minister, Nick Gibb, left, during an assembly at the Jane Austen College before the official opening. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2014

Swifter action to improve standards is the driving force of the government, its schools minister has claimed.

Nick Gibb insisted academies were the key to turning around failing schools, claiming that the programme which has seen many schools in the region taken out of local authority control was 'delivering'. His comments come after an EDP series found that academies had a mixed record in Norfolk.

Mr Gibb said the government was always concerned if schools were not improving but he claimed overall figures showed academies were improving at twice the rate of non-academy schools.

'What parents want is for their local school to be a good school. We are trying to increase the amount of choice in the system. The accountability is whether or not parents choose to send their children to the local school and our drive is to make every local school a good school.

'We believe the academies programme is the way to achieve that. I'm afraid there are too many schools which were under local authority control for decades which are underperforming and have been left underperforming.'

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Mr Gibb also heaped praise on the controversial academy chain which has taken over a number of schools, the Inspiration Trust. He insisted that it was one of the most successful groups in the country.

'If we could have more academy chains like the Inspiration Trust we would be achieving a huge amount for our country,' he said.

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He also insisted the consultation which took place ahead of its takeover of the Hewett School had listened to local concerns.

'There is demand for schools to improve in Norfolk. It hasn't been well regarded by Ofsted and we have to do more to improve the quality of education and the Inspiration Trust is playing an important role in delivering that.'

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