£33.5m to help struggling schools improve

High-performing academy trusts will receive funding from September to help schools that require improvement

Catherine Lough

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A new £17 million fund to help high-performing academy trusts to support or take on more schools was announced today by education secretary Damian Hinds. 

And a further package of support worth an estimated £16.5 million will help 2,400 underperforming schools to improve their leadership.


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Data published last week showed that 380,000 pupils now attend good or outstanding sponsored academies that were previously underperforming local authority schools.

“Strong academy trusts across the country are already supporting schools in many of the communities that need it the most and this funding will help this to happen in even more areas,” Mr Hinds said.

“Academies are at the heart of our reforms to education and just last week new data revealed that the last year has seen 80,000 more children studying in good or outstanding sponsored academies that were previously run by local authorities which is why we must continue to give these charitable institutions the opportunity to turn around more schools.”

The Trust Capacity Fund will be launched in September and provide funding until the end of the financial year. It will be used to support high-performing academy trusts to assist communities and schools in need of improvement; provide academy trusts with high potential to meet the challenges of taking on more schools in different contexts and to help smaller academy trusts merge into existing or new academy trusts.

The Department of Education provide support for schools with a "requires improvement" judgement from Ofsted, so that education experts and National Leaders of Education can help them to improve.

And a more intensive offer of leadership guidance, as well as up to £16,000 in support, will be offered for schools which have had two consecutive "requires improvement" judgements from Ofsted to help them make sustainable improvements.

The DfE will contact schools throughout the next academic year to offer this support.  

Earlier this year, Mr Hinds told the NAHT headteachers' union conference that he planned to use Ofsted’s ‘requires improvement’ judgement as the only trigger for offering leadership teams support – scrapping the floor and coasting standards that are used to hold schools to account.

The plan was later confirmed after receiving strong support in a Department for Education consultation.

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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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