A struggling academy chain that runs 36 schools in south-west England has been told to “urgently address” weaknesses in its education provision or face possible government intervention.
The official warning notice to Plymouth Cast follows last month's highly-critical Ofsted report about the Catholic multi-academy trust, after a focused inspection of 10 of its schools ended with three judged ‘inadequate’.
Bradley Simmons, the inspectorate’s regional director for the South West, found the trust was “failing to provide effective challenge and support for school improvement”, and said its leaders could not account for the impact of £2 million of additional funding for disadvantaged children.
The warning notice, issued by Rebecca Clark (pictured), the regional schools commissioner for the South West, on November 28 and published today, outlined the powers ministers have to terminate its academy agreement.
She wrote that “unless the matters on which our conclusions are based are remedied to the secretary of state's satisfaction within a reasonable period, the secretary of state may consider using her intervention powers”.
She gave the trust until December 16 to show her an amended action plan that includes:
- “specific and time bound actions” to urgently address the weaknesses Ofsted identified;
- an independent review across the trust of safeguarding, pupil premium and governance; and
- clarity about lines of accountability and roles and responsibilities of the trust’s leaders and board.
A spokesperson for the trust said: “Plymouth Cast is working closely with the regional schools commissioner to implement our comprehensive action plan. We are committed to ensuring all of our schools perform well and give our children the best education possible.”