Leeds academies boss defends schools’ performance in new league tables

Annette Hall. Executive principal of White Rose Academies.
Annette Hall. Executive principal of White Rose Academies.
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The head of an academy trust in the city where results are said to be “significantly below the national average” at GCSE has defended the performance of their secondary schools.

White Rose Academies Trust runs Leeds West, Leeds East and Leeds City Academies. 
The organisation was one of three in Yorkshire where schools are said to be below the national average in new Department for Education league tables. However its chief executive said this data did not take the school’s starting position into account when they joined the academy trust.

White Rose was formed to take on Leeds West and East schools after the troubled national academy sponsor E-Act withdrew from both in 2014.

It has also taken on Leeds City Academy which was formerly City of Leeds School.

Both Leeds City and Leeds East have had GCSEs results which are below the Government benchmark target of 40 per cent of pupils achieving five good GCSEs, including English and maths.

As a result the performance of White Rose schools are said to be below national averages in new Government tables.

However White Rose’s executive principal and chief executive Annette Hall said these tables did not measure academies starting points when they joined the trust or how long they had been involved. White Rose Academies said it “comprised three schools that formerly had very poor outcomes in comparison to national averages”. The trust said Leeds West has a history of one of the most improved schools in the city since it became an academy in 2009, is rated “Good with Outstanding Leadership” by Ofsted, and is now achieving results in line with national expectations.

White Rose said Leeds East has also improved considerably, moving from inadequate to “requires improvement” with a judgement of “good’ for leadership according to Ofsted.

The trust said Leeds City was also improving and heading for its best results ever in the summer this year.

White Rose executive principal and chief executive Annette Hall said: “The comparison tables of multi-academy trust performance published by the government are of only limited use, as they do not take into account the circumstances of the academies or the length of time new leadership arrangements have been in place. We can demonstrate very clearly that the longer we work with our schools the better they become. I am very proud of the effort and commitment shown by staff and students throughout this year and am sure that our performance in such table will be significantly improved for the 2016 results.”

She added: “Hand on heart I can say we provide good teaching, excellent pastoral care, and a quality curriculum in all of our academies. In every case children and families get a better deal than applied in the predecessor schools, two of which had been threatened with closure prior to becoming academies.”

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