Damning Ofsted assessment of E-Act academies: “overwhelming proportion of pupils…not receiving a good education”, says letter released today

Janet Downs's picture
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“E-Act has not been effective in improving its academies.”

Ofsted letter 25 March 2014

Inspectors visited 16 of E-Act’s 34 academies over a two-week period up to 7 February – one was judged Outstanding, four were Good, six were judged as Requires Improvement and five, including Hartsbrook E-Act Free School, were Inadequate.

The inspections raised several concerns including:

1E-Act has the lowest proportion of good or better academies among the ten largest multi-academy trusts.

211 of the 18 E-Act academies inspected before the focused inspections were Requires Improvement or worse.

3 Three of the four E-Act academies which have been inspected twice dropped from Satisfactory to Inadequate.

4Seven of the twelve E-Act secondary academies which have data were in the lowest 40% of similar schools for progress in English.

5In 2013, Key Stage 4 attainment for pupils eligible for free school meals (FSM) is lower than the national figure for FSM pupils in the majority of E-Act academies.

Ofsted said the evidence was an indication that E-Act’s support and intervention was “ineffective overall”. E-Act did not act effectively to improve performance in academies requiring “special measures”.

Key weakness in the 16 academies inspected during the two week blitz included:

1Poor quality teaching
2Work not matched to pupils’ abilities
3Weak monitoring
4Poor use of assessment data
5Insufficiently challenging lessons for more able pupils.

Inspectors discovered E-Act had deducted a proportion of pupil premium funding from each academy until 1 September 2013. Ofsted was unclear how the deducted funding was being used to help disadvantaged pupils.

This letter comes after the announcement that E-Act is to lose ten of its academies and an Education Funding Agency report which found a culture of extravagance at E-Act. Sir Bruce Liddington, E-Act CEO and once the highest-paid person in education in England, resigned after the report’s publication.

E-Act is one of the long serving chains. It began in 2009 and opened its first academies under Labour’s sponsored academies programme.

E-Act has published its own press release as a response to Ofsted's letter. The chain claims it has "begun root and branch reforms under new leadership".
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