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E-Act has been in the news quite frequently over the past year. There was always controversy over the £300,000 remuneration package for director Bruce Liddington – the highest paid person in education, but then revelations last year of financial mismanagement led to the resignation of Sir Bruce. Most recently concerns over standards have sparked a series of inspections of E-Act academies  with the result that almost a third of their 34 academies are to be taken out of their control.

The Anti Academies Alliance writes;

The removal of 10 schools from the EACT academy chain is the most spectacular failure in British post war education history. No Local Authority ever failed so dismally. Even when Islington Council’s education service was deemed beyond repair in the mid 1990’s it only had 3 ‘failing’ secondary schools!

None of the 10 academies removed from E-Act control are Birmingham schools. E-Act runs nine schools in Birmingham and the wider West Midlands. Six have been recently inspected. So how have E-Act’s Birmingham academies fared? With the exception of Heartlands Academy, not very well;

Heartlands Academy (opened 2009) inspected in February remains Outstanding.

Shenley Academy (opened 2009) inspected in February, has dropped a grade from Outstanding to Good. It could be considered surprising that Shenley was ever graded ‘Outstanding’ in the first place – Ofsted’s School data dashboard (2012) shows it to be in the bottom 20% of similar schools for 5A*-C inc. English and Maths and bottom 40% for progress in both English and Maths.

North Birmingham Academy (opened Jan 2010) inspected in February, has dropped a grade from Good to Requires Improvement.

West Walsall Academy (opened Sept 2012) inspected at the end of January, graded Inadequate and placed in Special Measures. Allumwell Business & Enterprise College was Satisfactory when E-Act took over. The Ofsted report states that the 2013 results;

represents a decline in standards from the predecessor school in 2012.

Nechells Primary (opened Sept 2012) was inspected at the end of January, graded inadequate and placed in Special Measures. The predecessor school was Satisfactory and had been judged in a Section 8 inspection to be improving when E-Act took over.

Willenhall Academy (opened January 2012) was inspected in September 2013, graded Inadequate and placed in Special Measures. The predecessor school, Willenhall Sports College, was Satisfactory when E-Act took over.

Reedswood Primary (opened Sept 2012) – not yet inspected.

Mansfield Green Primary – not yet inspected.

Merritts Brook Primary – not yet inspected.

It is worth noting that when Ofsted arrived to inspect the E-Act academies in Birmingham last month, it was not on the same terms as inspections at other schools. Elsewhere inspections are “almost no-notice”, with Ofsted calling headteachers the day before they arrive.  E-Act’s academies had the advantage of several weeks notice in which to prepare for their inspections – hardly a level playing field.

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