The founder and chief executive of the country’s largest primary school only academy chain is to step down next year, it has been announced today.
Sir Steve Lancashire will leave his role as at REAch2 Academy Trust in September 2022, 10 years after setting it up.
The academy trust’s board has said it will be working over the next six months to identify a successor.
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Sir Steve said: “REAch2 has been my joy and my passion. Having dedicated my professional life to the academies over the last 10 years I feel that the trust is at a point of success and stability that means this a good time for me to hand over for a new CEO to take the helm.
“I can look back at the last 10 years and know that the trust and its schools are in a good place. I can see that the trust is on a positive trajectory and feel that now is a good time for me to move on.
"We have a wonderful team achieving amazing things, and I leave REAch2 in a great position to continue to develop and deliver exceptional outcomes for children.
“The support, camaraderie and professional generosity that people have shown makes me humble and so proud to have had the privilege of leading the organisation.
"I haven’t yet made plans for what I will be doing next, but REAch2 will always be a part of me, and I look forward to seeing the trust continuing its current path of success.”
Since 2012 it has gone from just one academy, in Walthamstow, London to running 60 schools across 18 local authority areas.
Sir Steve is one of the highest paid academy leaders in the country. In an interview with Tes in 2018 he defended his salary and said he believed he gave value for money.
The latest accounts for REAch2 showed he earned between £220,000 and £230,000 in both 2019-20 and 2018-19.
Before the Covid pandemic, Sir Steve spoke out in a debate over the new Ofsted inspection framework as he urged chief inspector Amanda Spielman to stick to her guns.
This came after three high profile multi academy trust leaders had criticised Ofsted's new curriculum focus as being a "middle class" framework.
Jeremy King, the chair of the trust board, said: “Although we are sad to see Steve leave, REAch2 schools are in a good place with 87 per cent judged as ’good’ or better by Ofsted, compared to 17 per cent when they joined the Trust.
"Included in the family are schools which, until they joined REAch2, have never been rated as ‘Good’, such as Copperfield Primary Academy, in Kent, which received its first ever good grade earlier this year.
“The trust is in a stable position with a positive trajectory and trustees are feeling confident about our ability to continue to deliver with a new CEO at the helm.”