Ofsted criticism for Leeds schools chain

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a major academy chain which has grown from a Leeds secondary has been criticised for failing to improve its struggling schools by Ofsted.

The School Partnership Trust Academies (SPTA) which runs more than 40 schools in the North was formed from Garforth Community College.

Garforth Academy is an outstanding school. However Ofsted says that SPTA has been too slow in bringing about improvement in some of its other schools which needed it.

Ofsted has carried out a focused inspection of SPTA academies causing concern. None of these were in Leeds. A letter from the education watchdog to the academy chain says: “Where standards have been intractably low for some time, the trust is not driving significant, sustained improvement.  “The standard of education provided by the Trust is not good enough in around 40 per cent of its academies inspected so far.”

However it says the SPTA has had more impact at its primary academies. Seventeen of the 24 primary academies are judged to be good or better; the figure for secondary academies is only five out of 14 .

An SPTA spokesman said: “School Partnership Trust Academies recognises the strengths and also the challenges identified by Ofsted in its recent trust wide inspection.

“Already, 90 per cent of our primary academies have stronger outcomes and a similar proportion have maintained or improved their inspection judgement since their academy conversion. However, the Board acknowledges Ofsted’s concerns about the under-performance of some of our secondary academies.”

SPTA has just appointed a new chief executive Paul Tarn formerly the deputy chief executive of Outwood Grange Academies Trust. The two chains are now set to work together.

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