Academy suspected of off-rolling could have funding terminated

DfE letter calls for evidence of 'rapid and sustained improvement' at academy and seeks crisis meeting with senior leaders

The DfE has said it is minded to terminate the funding of Shenley Academy.

An academy that has been suspected of “off-rolling” by Ofsted has been warned by the Department for Education that it could have its funding agreement terminated.

An Ofsted inspection of Shenley Academy in Birmingham found that leaders removed eight Year 11 pupils on the same day in the autumn term of 2017, yet they “were not able to give a valid explanation as to why this happened”, and stated that “this practice suggests ‘off-rolling'".

The school was put in special measures.

Quick read: Ofsted 'set to fail off-rolling schools'

Viewpoint: Off-rolling is 'unethical and beyond repugnant', says heads' leader

Listen: The Tes podcast on off-rolling

A “minded-to-terminate” funding letter from the DfE has now been sent to Michael Wemms, chair of trustees at the academy’s trust E-ACT.

The letter, published today, asks for evidence that the academy “can achieve rapid and sustained improvement”, and a meeting has been called with senior leaders later this month.

A further minded-to-terminate letter was also sent to another of the trust's schools – Nechells Primary – on the same day.

As reported in Tes, Shenley Academy was one of three schools in which Ofsted suspected off-rolling had taken place.

The DfE letter to Shenley also highlights other concerns from the Ofsted report, including that “pupils, particularly disadvantaged pupils and those with special educational needs and/or disabilities, underachieve considerably across a range of subjects, including mathematics".

It adds that “leaders do not record and analyse information about pupils’ achievements, attendance and behaviour. Consequently, leaders are not able to share vital information with staff or the trust.”

In accordance with the Academies Act 2010, any funding agreement of an academy may be terminated by the regional schools commissioner on behalf of the education secretary where special measures are required to be taken or where the academy requires significant improvement.

A spokesman for E-ACT said: "We want to reassure parents that in both cases, we have taken swift and decisive action to address the issues highlighted by Ofsted inspectors, including bringing in extremely experienced leaders who have track records of turning around challenged schools.

"We want to stress that we remain absolutely committed to turning both academies around so that we can continue to provide every one of our pupils with the quality of education they deserve."

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Dave Speck

Dave Speck is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Specktator100

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