Academy trust hands over running of primary schools

Stephen Hillier, Cabinet Member for Children ' Start of Life
Stephen Hillier, Cabinet Member for Children ' Start of Life

A Trust which manages four primary academies in Hailsham and Newhaven has handed over the running of them to another group.

Lilac Sky Schools’ Academy Trust, which runs nine academies including Marshlands, White House and the Hailsham Academy, in Hailsham, and the Newhaven Academy, said the decision had been made “in the best interests of the children”.

The Trust received a ‘pre-termination warning notice’ from Dominic Herrington, regional schools commissioner for South London and the South East, in November, when standards at Marshlands became “unacceptably low”.

Before Lilac Sky took over at Marshlands, the school had been rated ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted - which in itself had been an improvement on the previous ‘inadequate’ rating.

While the 2014 inspectors recognised there was still a lot of work to be done, they said the improvements already made had been “striking”.

By the time Mr Herrington issued the ‘pre-termination warning notice’, though, the percentage of children achieving the expected levels in reading, writing and maths had fallen by 20 per cent, which he described as “significantly below the floor standard”.

A spokesman for Lilac Sky said: “The board of trustees are working closely with the Department for Education to transfer the nine primary schools.

“This was clearly a very difficult decision to make, but was done so in the best interests of the children.

“We are also working closely with the principal of each school, as well as the new trusts, to ensure that the children’s education is not disrupted.

“All of the schools will finish the academic year as planned and be able to reopen for the new academic year in September.”

Responsibility for the four academies will now be taken on by the STEP Academy Trust, which currently runs seven academies in London and Croydon.

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