The Department for Education has sent a warning letter to REAch2 Academy Trust saying it is ‘minded to terminate’ the trust’s funding agreement to run Sprites Primary Academy in Ipswich.
The predecessor school, Sprites Primary School, had twice been judged to require improvement before being taken over by REAch2 in July 2015. It was downgraded to Inadequate in May this year.
REAch2 is the largest primary-only multi-academy-trust (MAT) in the country with 59 schools. Former Chief HMI Michael Wilshaw named it as one of seven strong performing MATs in 2016. The most recent results based on 40 of its schools show REAch2 MAT progress scores in reading, writing and maths have dropped to below-average*.
In 2014, REAch2 took over CET Primary School Westminster, a free school opened two years earlier and judged to require improvement. A year later, Moor Green Primary School, a Birmingham academy, transferred to REAch2. The DfE paid REAch2 £110k** each in transfer fees
The former CET Primary School Westminster, renamed The Minerva Academy, relocated to 33-35 Praid Street, London, in September 2017 according to REAch2 accounts (year ending 31 August 2017). But at the end of August 2018, Minerva closed. The New Schools Network, the DfE-funded charity promoting free schools, still lists Minerva as open. I have asked REAch2 why Minerva closed and will report back as soon as I know.
In 2017, REAch2 gave up two of its schools amid concerns about poor performance. Broadmead Primary Academy and Castle Hill Academy, both in Croydon, transferred to new sponsors with rebrokerage costs of £110k each.**.
REAch2 has nine free schools in the pipeline, DfE data*** shows. This would increase the number of academies in REAch2 to 70. Unless, of course, REAch2 drops any of its academies judged less than good.
*See School Performance Tables
**Academy transfer costs downloadable here.
***Free schools in pipeline downloadable here.