‘Inconsistent’ academy chains face potential school cap

The Collaborative Academies Trust (CAT) is the second chain to have received a ‘focused inspection’ from Ofsted and the second to receive serious criticism from the inspectorate.

The school regulating service has found that CAT was having an ‘inconsistent and limited’ impact on student achievement and that too many of the trust’s academies had not improved since joining.

CAT was set up in 2012 by Edison Learning, an US company that has pioneered running state schools for a profit in the UK. The trust operates as a not-for-profit charity, although its parent company has sold services to hundreds of state schools in England.

Kevin Crossley, CAT’s chief executive, said the report did not highlight any areas for development that the trust was unaware of. He said: “When we set up our multi-academy trust in 2012 we deliberately took on troubled schools working in challenging circumstances. Therefore we knew that improvements would take time to realise.”

The trust’s board had decided not to take on any more schools this academic year but expected further growth in 2015-16, Mr Crossley added.