To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 15 January 2015 to Question 220450, whether her Department is considering new sponsorship, governance or partnership agreements with another Academy for any of the schools in question; and if she will make a statement.
In Tameside and Stockport the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) and officials continue to work closely with the academies where we have concerns to tackle underperformance and bring about rapid improvements. In Tameside, the RSC has been involved with one trust in the recruitment of new senior leaders including a School Improvement Director. The Department has also provided initial development funding to this trust so that they can source further support from the North West Teaching Schools Alliance. Both the RSC and officials are monitoring progress closely and will meet the trust again in February 2015 to discuss progress. For the other academies in Tameside and Stockport where we have concerns the RSC and officials are already in discussions with the trusts about sponsorship arrangements.
We will not hesitate to intervene in academies where rapid, sustainable improvements are not being made and RSCs have a range of interventions at their disposal. These interventions include: challenging the trust, facilitating partnerships with higher performing schools, reviewing sponsorship arrangements and seeking an alternative sponsor solution where we do not believe an existing trust has the capacity to make improvements. More formal interventions can include a pre-warning notice or warning notice, an alternative sponsor solution or ultimately terminating the funding agreement.
The performance is closely monitored via departmental officials. Officials continue to work closely with the trust and the governing body to provide challenge on the issues in question. Monitoring can include follow up visits to the school and monitoring progress via a scorecard.
The RSC in this case and departmental officials, on his behalf, will continue to work closely with the academy and its academy trust until such time as we are confident that the school is on a sustained upward trajectory.