Ellesmere Port & Neston MP, Justin Madders and Cheshire West & Chester Cabinet Member for Children and Families, Cllr Nicole Meardon have welcomed the decision by the Government to re-broker the Academy school in Ellesmere Port, removing responsibility for the school from the University of Chester Academies Trust.

The move came after pressure from the MP, as well as Cheshire West and Chester Council and followed a second ‘Inadequate’ Ofsted inspection in the space of a year.

The move was revealed following a question in Parliament by Justin Madders, who asked the Schools Minister, Nick Gibb MP, if the Government will deal with UCEA “as swiftly as possible.

Responding, the Minister said, “UCEA was judged to be inadequate by Ofsted in April last year. The question was then whether the multi-academy trust could provide the support that that school needed. 

“But following a recent Ofsted monitoring visit to the academy the department took the view that insufficient progress was being made, and that the leadership of the trust was not taking sufficient action.

“And that’s why my right honourable friend, the secretary of state, wrote to [Mr Madders] confirming that the academy is going to be brokered to a higher-performing multi academy trust and we will do that as swiftly as possible.”

Subsequently, the University of Chester Academies Trust has announced that it will be winding up its operations and asking the Government to re-broker all seven of its schools.

Commenting, Justin Madders MP said:

“While I welcome this decision, I remain extremely disappointed that it has taken so long to reach this point.  Parents and children in Ellesmere Port have not just been let down by a poorly-performing Academy chain, but also by a ridiculous system, which is not fit for purpose.

“In an ideal world, the school could now be handed back to the local Council, which has a very strong record with the schools over which it can exercise influence.  However, that isn’t possible under the current government, so instead another academy chain will be taking over.

“It must be stressed that these reports were nothing to do with the students at the school, or the hardworking and dedicated staff”

“This has to be seen as a fresh start for the school. I will work closely with the new academy chain to get the very best for our young people.”

Cllr Nicole Meardon added:

“I am pleased that the Government has finally agreed to find new sponsors for UCEA and ensure that the children and young people in Ellesmere Port get the high quality education they deserve.

All other secondary schools in Cheshire West have been graded by Ofsted as good or outstanding our goal is for this to be true of all our school. As a Local Authority we look forward to working with the new sponsors of UCEA to make sure this goal becomes a reality.”


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