25 March 2014
CEO and Accounting Officer
10 Whitfield Street
Inspections of academies within E-ACT, a Multi-Academy Trust (MAT)
I am writing to inform you of the outcomes of the inspections of academies within
E-ACT Multi-Academy Trust carried out between 28 January and 7 February 2014.
Ofsted inspected 16 of the 34 individual academies in the Trust. These academies
were already scheduled for inspection in the current academic year, with the
exception of two outstanding academies that were identified for inspection through
our routine risk assessment process. Ofsted conducted these inspections within a
two-week period because of wider concerns about the performance of academies in
In summary, these concerns were that:
E-ACT had the lowest proportion of good and outstanding academies of the
10 largest multi-academy trusts. Several of these academies have been part
of the Trust for over three years.
Eleven out of the 18 E-ACT academies inspected prior to this focused
inspection activity were judged to be less than good.
Of the four E-ACT academies that had been inspected twice, three saw their
inspection judgements decline from satisfactory to inadequate.
5 St Philips Place
T 0300 123 1231
Seven of the 12 E-ACT secondary academies for which we have data were in
the lowest 40% of similar schools for progress made in English. Eight of these
12 academies were in the lowest 40% of similar schools for progress made in
Key Stage 4 attainment is low across the E-ACT academies for which we have
In 2013, none of the 20 schools with published performance data succeeded
in reaching the national figure of 59.2% of pupils achieving five or more A* to
C GCSE grades (including English and mathematics).
In 2013, for the majority of E-ACT academies, Key Stage 4 attainment for
pupils known to be eligible for free school meals was lower than the national
figure for this group.
Outline of focused inspection activities
Of the 16 academies inspected, six were primary and 10 were secondary. One
primary academy was a free school. All of the academies had been open for at least
four terms (see Annex 1).
During the inspections, lead inspectors gathered information on the quality and
impact of the support provided by E-ACT to Principals and governors. The following
questions, in particular, were asked:
How well does the Trust understand the academy’s strengths and
weaknesses, performance and the standards that the pupils achieve?
What measures has the Trust put in place to support and challenge the
academy, and how well do these meet the needs of the academy?
What has been the impact of the Trust’s support and challenge over time to
bring about academy improvement?
Principals were also asked:
To what extent does the academy, if it is ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’, support other
academies to improve? How does the Trust facilitate or support this?
To what extent does the Trust recognise that performance was not ‘good’ or
better before it was inspected, and how does the academy receive support
from the Trust in order to improve?
Of the 16 academies inspected as part of the focused inspection activity:
Five academies were judged to require ‘special measures’.
Eleven academies were failing to provide a ‘good’ education.
Ten academies had not improved since their previous inspection (either as an
academy or as the predecessor school). Of these, six academies had declined
in terms of their Ofsted grade (two had been sponsored by E-ACT for four
years or more).
Only four academies were judged to be ‘good’ and one was judged
This means that an overwhelming proportion of pupils attending the E-ACT
academies inspected were not receiving a good education.
The evidence collected during these inspections indicates that intervention and
support provided by E-ACT was ineffective overall. For those academies judged to
require ‘special measures’, the Trust failed to take effective action to improve
The inspections highlighted key weaknesses across many of the 16 academies.
poor quality teaching, with the work set in lessons inadequately matched to
weak monitoring and poor use of performance data by senior leaders who did not
know where teaching needed to improve
failure to give pupils a clear understanding of how to improve through effective
marking and assessment
poor quality assurance by middle leaders
a lack of urgency in taking effective action to close the gap between
disadvantaged pupils and others
insufficiently challenging lessons for more able students
During the inspections, senior staff informed inspectors that E-ACT had, until 1
September 2013, deducted a proportion of the pupil premium funding from each
academy. It is unclear how these deducted funds are being used to improve
outcomes for disadvantaged pupils.
In summary, the outcomes of these inspections indicate that E-ACT has not been
effective in improving its academies. Although principals report some recent
improvements to the Trust’s leadership of its academies, inspectors have not yet
seen this impacting on standards.
There is an urgent need for E-ACT to take action to tackle underperformance in a
relatively large number of academies in the Trust and to ensure that pupils’
achievement rises to a good standard.
I am, of course, willing to meet with you to discuss this further.
Regional Director, West Midlands
E-ACT Academies inspected between 28 January and 7 February 2014
Academy Name Region Opening
Hartsbrook E-ACT Free
London 28/08/2012 N/A 4
Nechells Primary E-ACT
West Midlands 01/09/2012 3* 4
Heartlands Academy West Midlands 01/09/2009 1 1
Shenley Academy West Midlands 01/09/2009 1 2
North Birmingham Academy West Midlands 04/01/2010 2 3
Reedswood E-ACT Academy West Midlands 01/09/2012 3* 3
West Walsall E-ACT
West Midlands 01/09/2012 3* 4
E-ACT Blackley Academy North West 01/01/2012 4* 2
Parkwood Academy North East,
01/09/2009 3 2
The Purston E-ACT
01/09/2012 3* 4
Ilminster Avenue E-ACT
South West 01/01/2012 4* 2
Chalfont Valley E-ACT
South East 01/09/2012 3* 3
Burnham Park E-ACT
South East 01/04/2012 4* 3
Sherwood E-ACT Academy East Midlands 01/09/2012 3* 3
The Winsford E-ACT
North West 01/09/2010 3 3
The Parker E-ACT Academy East Midlands 01/09/2012 4* 4
*denotes grade awarded to predecessor school.