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Education written question – answered on 29th October 2013.

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Photo of Chi Onwurah Chi Onwurah Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many Academy chains have had restrictions placed on them by his Department to date.

Photo of Edward Timpson Edward Timpson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Since January 2013, a total of 25 academy chains have agreed to pause and restrict their growth and further expansion. Any plans they produce for future growth and expansion will be assessed by the Department and reviewed on an ongoing basis. This will allow them to concentrate on improving performance at their existing schools.

Where academies are underperforming we will use our statutory powers, such as Pre-Warning Notices and Warning Notices. For the worst performing sponsors we have immediately paused their growth and intervened at board level. We are also implementing a number of steps to bring about improvement, such as helping them to build board-level capability and identifying people with relevant skills and experience to join boards.

As well as looking at annual performance results we also undertake regular assessments of sponsors' capacity to ensure growth is sensible and well-managed. This will allow us to identify where sponsors are at risk of being overstretched.

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