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University of Chester Academies Trust

Question for Department for Education

UIN 3709, tabled on 23 June 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to improve the performance of the University of Chester Academies Trust.

Answered on

30 June 2015

We share your concerns about the performance of University of Chester Academies Trust (UCAT).

Following his appointment, Mr Pank Patel, Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) for the West Midlands, which covers Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, has met the trust to challenge them on their strategic plans for improvement and has met the new Chair of the Board of Trustees. Officials have visited UCAT academies to review progress and provide robust challenge on their action plans. As a result of these discussions the trust has implemented a number of changes, including introducing a new leadership structure and appointing a CEO.

In September, they also appointed a strategic educational improvement partner, St John Plessington Catholic College (SJP), an outstanding academy located in Bebington on the Wirral and the lead in the St John Plessington Teaching School Alliance, to review their systems and introduce the necessary measures to bring about the rapid improvements necessary. This agreement will come to an end in the Autumn term, at which time Fallibroome Academy will be involved in coaching leadership and school improvement.

With the introduction of these changes Mr Patel has been reassured that the trust is taking the right steps to build the necessary capacity to ensure that progress is made in each of their academies. Mr Patel and his team will continue to work closely with UCAT to monitor their progress. If rapid and sustainable progress is not made, he will not hesitate to take further action.