A school run by a multi-academy trust which has been praised by ministers has been threatened with having its funding agreement terminated.
The regional schools commissioner for Lancashire and West Yorkshire issued Highfield Leadership Academy in Blackpool – which is run by Star Academies – with a “minded to terminate” letter after the school was rated inadequate by Ofsted.
Read: Best and worst performing academy trusts named
Read: Top academy trust hit by £77k cyberattack
Comment: Our results show free schools are transforming education
Star Academies used to be known as the Tauheedul Education Trust, and was the highest performing MAT in the country for Progress 8 in the Department for Education’s latest GCSE league tables.
In 2017 the schools minister Nick Gibb said the chain showed “conclusively that geography need be no barrier to academic achievement”.
Highfield Leadership Academy was taken over by the chain in April 2016, but was placed in special measures following an Ofsted inspection in December 2018.
In the minded to terminate letter – which was published today – Vicky Beer, RSC for Lancashire and West Yorkshire, says: “I need to be satisfied that this academy can achieve rapid and sustained improvement, if I am not satisfied this can be achieved I will consider issuing a termination warning notice.”
She asks Star Academies to provide her with an up-to-date copy of its post-inspection action plan, information on pupils’ performance and a copy of the report from an Ofsted monitoring inspection.
She says she will meet with the trust in March and review “progress against your post-inspection action plan on a half terms basis”.
A spokesperson for the Trust said: “We are continuing to implement an action plan to address the weaknesses that Ofsted has identified.
“We are committed to turning the school around and ensuring that young people at Highfield Leadership Academy receive the best possible education.
“All of our efforts and focus are on improving the school quickly and effectively, whilst also addressing endemic challenges in a sustainable way.”