Watchdog: Children Need Better Education

A major academy chain has been heavily criticised by the schools watchdog after inspectors concluded that too many pupils are not getting a decent education.

Inspectors warned that around half of the academies run by the Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) are not yet considered good, adding that some had been left to “flounder”.

AET insisted that Ofsted’s conclusions, which followed inspections of a dozen of its academies, did not give the true picture of progress across its 77 schools, and added that it had raised a number of issues with the inspectorate about its interpretation of the data and “potential errors of fact”.

Ofsted visited 12 AET academies in June and found that only five had improved since their previous inspection. Half of those visited continue to be “less than good”, the watchdog said, with one still rated as inadequate and one declining in performance since its last inspection.

In a letter to AET’s chief executive, Ian Comfort, setting out the findings, Ofsted’s chief operating officer Matthew Coffey, said: “It remains the case that half the academies in the Trust are not yet good. As a result, too many pupils in the Trust are not receiving a good enough education.”

The inspections highlighted “key weaknesses” in the schools visited, Ofsted concluded, including low expectations of what pupils can and should achieve, pupils with “less than good” attitudes to learning and unacceptable behaviour and that classwork was not always challenging enough.

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