Exclusive: Ofsted inspects academy chain for the second time after performance ‘concerns’

England’s biggest academy chain has received a major Ofsted inspection for the second time in 18 months, amid fears over its performance, TES can reveal.

It has emerged that the situation at the Academies Enterprise Trust (AET), which runs 68 schools throughout the country, has become so serious that representatives from the Department for Education now sit in on the trust’s board meetings.

The government has said that it makes such a move if it has “concerns” about an academy chain. Now, Ofsted has conducted its own investigation into AET’s performance with a special two-week “focused inspection” of its headquarters and seven schools.

A previous inspection in June 2014 led the inspectorate to say that “too many pupils” at the chain’s schools were not being given a good enough education.

And in October 2014, the chain received a “financial notice to improve” from the Education Funding Agency, because of concerns about the management of its finances.

The inspection comes in the week that chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, used his annual report to warn that academies could “only do so much” in improving the education system, and were not the only solution to raising standards.

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