Academy trust head ‘sick’ at neighbouring school’s good Ofsted rating

Writing in his Guardian column, Warwick Mansell is wondering why Dame Rachel de Souza was unhappy with the nearby Hewett school’s 2013 ‘good’ Ofsted rating.

…Email correspondence seen by us shows the head of Inspiration Trust, a chain highly regarded by the Department for Education, admitting she was less than pleased in 2013 when the Hewett got its “good” Ofsted report.

In an email to Sir Theodore Agnew, chairman of the trust, who at the time was also a DfE director, Dame Rachel de Souza, the trust’s CEO, says: “Hewett on 42% [provisional figures for the proportion of pupils achieving five good GCSEs in August 2013] – is it vulnerable again? That good they got [from Ofsted] made me sick!”

News of the correspondence will interest campaigners fighting to stop the transfer of the Hewett to Inspiration Trust. The school sits on a 54-acre site worth a reported £60m. A 4:1 majority of those who replied to a consultation [pdf] were against the transfer and hundreds of people marched through Norwich city centre in protest.

The email exchange between De Souza and Agnew includes a discussion of the Hewett’s GCSE results for that year, which were disappointing.

Why would a head feel “sick” about a positive Ofsted inspection for a nearby school? The answer may be that it could scupper her chances of taking over the Hewett, as academy takeovers are usually triggered by schools faring poorly in inspections…

More at: Academy trust head ‘sick’ at school’s good Ofsted rating


Is it necessarily wrong for someone running a group of schools (of whatever type) to feel frustrated if a decision means they are less likely to be able to add another school to their group when results in that school are disappointing?

Presumably it is possible they genuinely feel the school – and children – would be better off inside their group?

Or is this kind of competitive approach a problem in the system that you would rather was not present or encouraged?


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Categories: Academies and Leadership.


  1. ballater6

    educationbear not conducive to good working relations if true, professional jealousy is not culture to encourage IMO

  2. This increases the perception that some academy chains are more than eager to hoover up schools ripe for academy conversion (ie those allegedly ‘underperforming’ or have poor Ofsted outcomes).  A school in their sites which was judged Good or better would scupper their empire building.
    A cynic might say that’s why Gove moved quickly in situations like Downhills where the target school was showing signs of improving.  This would allow the academy chain taking it over to claim responsibility for any subsequent improvement.

    Note: this is a resubmission of a comment I made earlier where I wrote ‘symptoms’ instead of ‘situations’.  I didn’t notice until the 5 min editing period finished.

  3. wraitken

    SchoolsImprove worked in school where did bad GCSE yr before & got outstanding as knew how 2 improve & were working 2 it. Well done on good

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