Academy Sponsorship

Oral Answers to Questions — Education – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 27th October 2014.

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Photo of Ronnie Campbell Ronnie Campbell Labour, Blyth Valley 2:30 pm, 27th October 2014

What assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the system of academy sponsorship; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

There are 642 approved academy sponsors, and 349 of them are good or outstanding converter academies. Results over a number of years show that established sponsors are delivering sustained improvements, helping to transform the life chances of thousands of pupils. There is a rigorous and thorough process for approving sponsors and reviewing their growth and performance, and regional schools commissioners now lead in identifying new sponsors, challenging existing sponsors and advising on appropriate sponsor matches for new academies.

Photo of Ronnie Campbell Ronnie Campbell Labour, Blyth Valley

The Secretary of State indicated some time ago that she was in favour of allowing Ofsted to check on academy schools. Why has she changed her mind? Or is the Chief Whip still in charge of her Department?

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

Of course, Ofsted does inspect academies and does have the power to inspect chains of academies, as we have seen recently with its inspections of a series of academies in the E-ACT and Academies Enterprise Trust chains. The truth is that Ofsted has the power to inspect chains of academy schools.