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‘I’ve always liked tough schools – leafy suburb schools are for other people’

As a pioneer of primary academies, Sir Steve Lancashire was spat on and sworn at. But the founder and CEO of REAch2 was not to be deflected from his mission. He tells Martin George that academy trusts have a moral duty to take failing schools under their wing – and he explains why he’s worth his £240,000 pay packet

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When Sir Steve Lancashire became one of the pioneers of the primary school academy movement, he was bewildered to suddenly find himself cast as the “bad guy”.

As a headteacher, he had a record of helping to turn around troubled schools, and he founded the REAch2 academy trust in 2012 to provide a more structured environment for school improvement.

“In Staffordshire, I was standing up to a sea of yellow Anti-Academies Alliance T-shirts,” he recalls. “In Deptford, I was having my car covered in dog excrement and the wheels slashed; being sworn at and, on one occasion, spat at. The whole ...

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