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Grace Academy in Solihull set to join new trust amid difficulties at Coventry sister school

Sarah Mason 22nd Jan, 2019 Updated: 22nd Jan, 2019

GRACE Academy in Solihull borough is set to change hands when it joins the Tove Learning Trust (TLT) – amid difficulties at its sister school in Coventry.

The Grace Academy Trust has schools in Chelmsley Wood, Coventry and Wednesbury and will now join a multi-academy trust.

The academy in Chaplehouse Road has been rated Good by national watchdog Ofsted in March 2017 but the Coventry site was judged Inadequate last February.

The academy says it has been working with TLT to develop teaching and learning provision and, as a result, performance standards have been increasing.

TLT is a multi-academy trust (MAT), grown out from Sponne School in Towcester.

In response to questions from the Solihull Observer Grace Academy said the move was not related to performance.

Jamie Clarke, chief executive officer of Grace Academy and TLT said:”The recommendation to transfer to TLT was an internal governance decision and was not at the request of the Department for Education or related to the performance of Grace Academy Coventry, where Ofsted has recognised that standards are beginning to rise after an inspection in December 2018.

“Ofsted highlighted that staff at Grace Academy Coventry are committed to providing the quality of education pupils deserve and new Principal, Anu Monga, was praised in the report for: ‘…building a team of leaders and teachers who share her vision and have the skills to deliver it.’

“With a full complement of well-qualified staff, improved methods of assessment and accountability, and an understanding of the knowledge base of every individual student, we are confident that students at Grace Academy Coventry are on the right track to make the required level of progress.

“The transfer to TLT will also bring positive benefits for Grace Academy Solihull’s staff and students who will have more opportunities for personal development as part of a larger, school-centred multi-academy trust which has a teaching school providing excellent Continuing Professional Development for staff.

“While the move requires final DfE approval, there is strong support for the transfer and, if formal consultation proceeds as planned, the transfer is likely to occur on April 1.”

In a statement, the academy said there will be no other changes to leadership, name or admission numbers planned at Grace Academy Solihull.

In a letter following Ofsted’s latest visit to the Coventry school inspectors noted there had been ‘substantial changes in staffing’ with most current members of the middle leadership team, including heads of subjects joined the school since Easter 2018.

It also stated there were more teachers due to start in January this year.

The biggest change was the school’s ethos ‘If it’s not good enough for my own children, then it’s not good enough for anyone else’s’, the report said.

Since the last inspection it was noted teachers generally, follow the school’s policies closely so pupils have a more consistent experience between classes and subjects but there are some teachers who still do not know how to apply the policies effectively.

In a letter to parents on the Solihull school’s website “Our main sponsors, Lord and Lady Edmiston, are spending less time in the UK as they step back from their business interests.

“Personal circumstances have changed for another key trustee. This has led to Grace Academy board (members and trustees) taking the decision to transfer to TLT.

“Now is a good time for Grace Academy to secure this trend of improvement.”

Parents were also informed in the letter they can share their views with the DfE by emailing RSC.WM@education.gov.uk by February 5.

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