Oldham College terminates academy sponsorship

Oldham College has relinquished control of Waterhead Academy and Stoneleigh Academy, following claims that it was no longer ‘feasible’ to sponsor them.

The college said that the ‘world of education’ had changed ‘rapidly’ and that it did not have the ‘capacity’ to come with school improvement.

A spokesperson for Oldham College: “The school curriculum no longer embraces any of the vocational or technical subjects which the college teaches.

“Even more significant is that academy sponsorship is no longer feasible on a small scale. Sponsors need to be committed to growing large groups of schools with all the associated capacity that this brings to the challenge of school improvement.”

Richard Atkins, former president of the Association of Colleges, agreed with the decision, adding that in order for multi-academy trusts (MATs) run by colleges to be successful, they needed around a dozen schools.

He said: “Colleges get into difficulty when senior management attempts to run one or two schools on a day-to-day basis. They start to take their eye off the ball and college standards start to drop. You need enough capacity, for example, to appoint a chief operating officer, a head of finance and an executive headteacher for the schools who report to the MAT.

A Department for Education spokesperson commented: “It is for colleges to decide whether to apply to become sponsors and for the regional school’s commissioner to decide on their suitability based on their capacity and their track record in supporting underperforming schools.”

The academies are set to be overtaken by Huddersfield-Based Moor End Academies Trust.

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