Academy chain cherry-picking West Sussex schools

The University of Brighton Academy Trust (UBAT) has dropped its take-over of Southgate Primary School, Crawley because it found out the school was in special measures.

This goes against one of the key principles of the Conservative Government’s academisation programme, in that it was supposed to improve poor performing schools.

The school should have converted on 1 February, but the trust told staff in December that after consulting Ofsted’s inspection report, it would no longer be progressing with the conversion. It felt the measures it would have to introduce to improve the school could not be balanced against the needs of other schools in the trust.

Branch secretary Dan Sartin said:

“Decisions such as this are completely unacceptable. No doubt we will see the emergence of a two-tier schools’ system where academy chains only bid to run ‘high performing’ schools, leaving others to be managed by the County Council.

And yet councils – which are being starved of cash – will be forced to pick up expensive bills to support those schools. This cannot be fair. Situations like this are not helped at all by academies cherrypicking  schools they would like to run. The failure of Tory education policy has resulted in schools like Southgate being subjected to inadequate ‘due diligence’ during academisation. Frankly, it’s been a waste of time, resources and energy.”