An academy in Saltash could have its funding terminated and be handed to another Trust if improvements are not made soon.
Members and trustees of the South East Cornwall Multi Academy Regional Trust at Saltash Community School received a termination warning notice recently after ‘not making necessary improvements.’
On February 23 this year, the South East Cornwall Multi Academy Regional Trust was notified via letter by the Department of Education (DfE) of the notice.
In the letter, written by the regional director of the South West Regions Group, it said: “I must be confident, based on the information available and evidence provided, that the trust can deliver rapid and sustained improvements at the academy.
“Currently I am not satisfied this is the case.
“I therefore intend to issue a Termination Warning Notice.”
The letter went on to explain that, in accordance with the Academies Act 2021, ‘any funding agreement of the academy may be terminated by the Secretary of State’.
The academy has been part of the South East Cornwall Multi Academy Regional Trust since 2011. In the years that followed, the academy was given a ‘requires improvement’ judgement from Ofsted in 2019 and 2022.
According to the Trust, after the change to regulations in September 2022, ‘this is now a standard letter that is sent to all schools who have had a previous ‘Requires Improvement’ judgement and then receive a second one at their next inspection.’
In Saltash Community School’s last Ofsted report, dated December 6, 2022, the five ‘overall effectiveness’ grades were given, with quality of education and leadership and management being marked as ‘requires improvement’ while all others were ‘good’.
The Ofsted report went on to say: “Saltash is a welcoming school where staff and pupils have a strong team spirit. The school bases its values of tenacity, empathy, aspiration and motivation around this team approach. Pupils enjoy coming to school and feel safe. They study a broad range of subjects.
“However, leaders have not acted quickly enough to improve the quality of education that pupils receive. Teaching of the curriculum has weaknesses. As a result, not all pupils are well prepared for the next steps in their education.
“Staff have high expectations for pupils’ behaviour in lessons. Consequently, most pupils show a positive attitude to their learning. Bullying is rare. If it happens, leaders act swiftly and effectively.
“Pupils enjoy the extra-curricular life of the school. They participate in activities that include cookery, playing board games and watching French films. These activities introduce pupils to new interests and develop their confidence. Students in the sixth form get involved in the wider life of the school. For example, students lead ‘Active Breaks’, a programme which encourages healthy lifestyles.”
The Trust continued: “Reading Saltash’s last OFSTED you can see that considerable improvements are recognised by them but these improvements had not been rapid enough to move the school over the line into a ‘Good’ grading.”
In order for a warning notice to be lifted the Trust must follow ‘specific actions’ which have been enforced; by October 16 the Trust had to have identified a suitable multi academy trust (agreed by the DfE) to enter into a trust partnership which utilises their skills and experience to drive school improvement. By December 15, the Trust should provide an update on the progress of the trust partnership arrangements.
The Trust also needs to provide a plan (the ‘agreed plan’) to show how it will improve the way school improvement is tracked across the academy and how issues preventing improvement will be responded to.
For March 8, 2024, the Trust needs to provide updates and progress on the agreed plan.
If the trust fails to meet the requirements, the academy’s funding agreement will be considered and the academy potentially transferred to an alternative trust.
The Trust added: “We are working in positive collaboration with the DfE as suggested in the letter and reviewing Saltash’s progress throughout the next 18 months.”