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Academy Groups

 Last updated January 2017.

There are now a large number of academy groups that in many ways act like mini Local Authorities except for: the mandatory responsibilities including place planning; aspects of Special Education Needs; responsibility for excluded children; accountability to the locality; standards; and the bureaucracy that inevitably accompanies local authorities. These groups stem from many different types of foundation, including: charities; church groups; individual successful schools; organisations that also supply schools services where they make their profits; multi-academy groups where a number of schools have got together as a co-operative. 

Many of these incorporate Sponsored Academies, who are taken over by more successful schools, academy chains or other organisations.

There is no pattern for the structure of academy groups, but the following list attempts to cover all groups with an interest in Kent and Medway schools, along with the lead organisation.  Currently government is putting pressure on Local Authorities and many school governing bodies in an attempt (largely successful) to force them into academy partnerships and I expect many more local primary schools to appear in this list shortly. There is often no public consultation for these conversions and it is not until the decision is announced that one can be sure this is happening. Often there is great secrecy about the process. There is an analysis of the work of two of  the largest groups of Academies here.

 The full list (I am happy to be updated on this information) includes: 

The following abbreviations are used: (C) Converter Academy; (Sp) Sponsored Academy. 

Academies Enterprise Trustcomprising 30 secondary academies , 31 primary academies, and four special schools, stretching from Essex to the Isle of Wight, including  St James the Great Academy (previously St James the Great Primary Community and Nursery School). It is reported on the Anti Academy Alliance website that AET has been told by the DofE to pull out of sponsoring two additional Portsmouth schools and focus on raising standards in its existing academies. See article here. As a consequence it also lost three Maidstone primaries to Leigh Academies Trust.

Ace Learning Trust: Federation of Hamstreet and Furley Park Primary Schools

Aletheia Anglican Academies Trust: based at St George's CofE School (C), Gravesend. Incorporating Shorne CofE Primary (C) and St Botolph's CofE Primary (C), both of Gravesend.

Allington Primary School Academy Trust: Allington Primary School (C); Barming Primary School

Barton Court Grammar School Trust: taking over Charles Dickens School, Ramsgate, after a troubled history

Brook Learning Trust, Tonbridge. based on Hayesbrook School, incorporating: High Weald Academy (previously Angley School) (Sp) and Ebbsfleet Academy (previously Swan Valley School), Ebbsfleet (Sp).

Canterbury Academy Trust: Canterbury High School and Canterbury Primary School. Also runs the Canterbury 14-16 ACP PRU  and The Canterbury Youth Service.

Canterbury Christ Church University: Dover Christ Church Academy (Sp)

Castle Academy Trust: Delce Academy, Rochester.

Coastal Academies Trust (Previously Dane Court and King Ethelbert Academies Trust): Dane Court Grammar School (C); Hartsdown Academy (C); King Ethelbert School (C); Cliftonville Primary (Sp). The Trust has taken over the Royal Harbour Academy (not yet an Academy), previously Ellington and Hereson having absorbed the now defunct Marlowe Academy, in Ramsgate. There may be problems with this application as described here.  The Trust ran Charles Dickens School in Broadstairs for a while, before KCC passed it over to St George's CofE, also Broadstairs, and it has now passed on to Barton Court.  

Cygnus Academies Trust, Manor Community School, Swanscombe (C). Westgate Primary, Dartford (Sp).

Diocese of CanterburyThe John Wallis Church of England Academy, Ashford (Sp); Archbishop Courtney Primary, Maidstone (Sp); Brenzett CofE (Sp); Charlton CofE Primary, Dover; Christ Church CEP, Folkestone (C); Christ Church Church of England Juniors in Ramsgate (Sp); Dymchurch Primary (C); Kennington CofE Junior (Sp); Kingsnorth CofE (C); Reculver CofE Primary (Sp); St Eanswythe's Cof E Primary, Shepway; St George's CofE, Sheppey (C); St John's CofE Primary (C); St Laurence in Thanet Church of England Juniors (Sp); St Mary's CofE Primary, Ashford (C);  St Mary of Charity, CofE (Aided), Faversham; St Nicholas CofE, New Romney (Sp); and Temple Ewell Church of England Primary (Sp). 

Dover Federation of the Arts Multi Academy Trust: based at Astor College for the Arts (C), incorporating Barton Juniors (C); Shatterlocks Infants (C); Whitecliffs Primary College of the Arts (C); and associated with the Duke of York’s Royal Military School, sponsored by the Ministry of Defence. 

Fort Pitt Thomas Aveling Academy Trust: Fort Pitt Grammar School Chatham (C) & Thomas Aveling School (C) (joint lead schools);  Robert Napier School (Sp); Rochester; & Phoenix Junior Academy (previously Glencoe Junior School) (Sp).

Fulston Manor Academy Trust, Sittingbourne.  based on Fulston Manor School: South Avenue Juniors (Sp) and South Avenue Infants (C). 

Future Schools Trust run New Line Learning (Sp) and Cornwallis Academies (Sp), Tiger Primary School (Kent's first Free School) and Little Learners Nursery.

Galaxy Trust: Oakfield Community Primary (C); Temple Hill Community Primary (C). 

Gravesend Grammar School (C); Whitehill Primary (C)

Greenacre Academy Trust: based on Greenacre School, Chatham (C); Warren Wood Community Primary (Sp); Chantry Primary, Gravesend, (Sp) after it was failed by Meopham Community Trust.

Griffin Schools Trust: "The Griffin Schools Trust is a charitable company, limited by guarantee, whose main aim is to increase access to the best of education for the most socially deprived and disadvantaged children, by sponsoring Academies". Article on Griffin here. They currently run a number of schools in the Midlands, along with Kingfisher Community Primary, Chatham (Sp); Saxon Way Primary, Gillingham (Sp); and Lordswood Primary, Chatham (Sp); along with another three primaries and a Midlands secondary school. The Rust also ran Wayfield Primary, Chatham (C), but after it was placed in Special Measures, it was transferred to the Primary First Trust. 

Howard Academy Trust, The Howard School, Rainham (C); Temple Mill Primary, Strood (Sp); Deanwood Primary (C). 

Ignite Academy Trust: Joydens Wood Infants (C); Joydens Wood Juniors (C); Wilmington Primary (C)

The Kemnal Academies Trust (TKAT), based on the Kemnal Technology College in Bexley. This is a Trust of 12 secondary and 22 primary academies stretching from Essex to Hampshire. These include: Orchards Academy, previously Swanley Technology College, (C); Rainham School for Girls, Medway (C); Dame Janet Primary Academy, previously Dame Janet Infant & Junior Schools, Thanet (Sp), Drapers Mill Primary, Margate (Sp) (various comments on website); Newlands Primary (Sp), Northdown Primary (Sp) & Salmestone Primary (Sp),all in Thanet; Horizon Primary,Swanley (Sp); Napier Community Primary & Nursery, Gillingham; Pluckley Church of England Primary (C); Rainham School for Girls (C); & Smarden Primary (C). Newlands was satisfactory when taken over, now has Serious Weaknesses. TKAT has now set up an Executive Governing Body for its Thanet Primary Academies, run by a previous deputy headteacher of a small primary school. A very complex structure developing here! OFSTED published a critical Report on the Trust in July 14. My comments here

Kent Catholic Schools Partnership: A private company set up in 2012 by the Archdiocese of Southwark, apparently to act as an umbrella organisation for all the Kent Catholic Schools, as they apply to become academies en masse(!): Holy Family Catholic Primary, Maidstone (Sp);  More Park Catholic Primary, Maidstone (C);  Our Lady of Hartley Catholic Primary (C); St Anselm's Catholic School, Canterbury (C); St Edmund's Catholic School,Dover (Sp); St Edwards' Catholic Primary, Sheerness (Sp); St Gregory's Catholic Comprehensive, Tunbridge Wells (C); St Gregory's Catholic Primary, Margate (C); St John's Catholic Primary, Gravesend (C);  St Joseph's Catholic Primary, Aylesham (C); St Joseph's Catholic Primary, Margate (C); St Joseph's Catholic Primary, Northfleet (C); St Margaret Clitherow Catholic Primary, Tonbridge (C); St Mary’s Catholic Primary, Dover; St Mary's Catholic Primary, Whitstable; St Peter's Catholic, Sittingbourne (C); St Richard's Catholic Primary; St Simon Stock, Maidstone (C); St Simon of England Roman Catholic Primary, Ashford; St Thomas Catholic Primary, Sevenoaks (G); Stella Maris Catholic Primary, Folkestone; Ursuline College, Thanet.  In progress: St Francis Catholic Primary, Maidstone; St Mary's Catholic Primary, Canterbury (C); St Peter’s, Sheppey (disaster area and conversion delayed)

The Leigh Academy Trust: Has four 'hubs' and one stand-alone academy. The first, based on Leigh Academy, Dartford (Sp) incorporates Wilmington Academy (Sp), Dartford Primary School (previously St Alban's Road Infants & York Road Junior Academy now combined), Hartley Primary (C) and Milestone Academy (Special School), New Ash Green (C). It will run the new Castle Hill Primary School at Ebbsfleet Garden City. Secondly the Mid-Kent Hub, led by new member of the Trust, the successful Mascalls School in Paddock Wood and runs three Maidstone primary academies taken over from AET - Molehill Primary Academy; Oaks Academy (previously Oak Trees Community School); Treetops Academy (previously Bell Wood Community Primary School). Leigh has also been awarded two new Free Schools in the area on the same site: Bearsted Academy a secondary Special School; and a new Maidstone Primary.  The third hub is to built around Strood Academy, transferring to the Trust. It has been awarded the  new Medway Academy, a secondary school.  The Trust also manages the new Leigh University Technical College in Dartford, and its 11-14 extension the Inspiration Academy. Longfield Academy, the first of the Trust's schools apart from Leigh itself, stnads alone. The fourth hub in SE London includes Stationers Crown Woods Academy in Eltham (C), £50 million new buildings and one of the most oversubscribed schools in SE London and a new secondary Free School, Castle Community Primary School, to be built on the Greenwich Peninsula.  

Lilac Sky Academy Trust: Now Closed with all academies transferred to other Trusts Richmond Primary, Sheerness (Sp) & Thistle Hill Primary, Sheppey (Sp)  transferring to Stour Valley Trust;  Knockhall Community Primary (Sp) to Woodland Academy Trust; Morehall Primary, Folkestone (Sp) & Martello Grove Academy (Sp), Folkestone to the new Turner Schools Trust.  Heavily involved in Furness Special School, Hextable which proved a disaster and Furness has now re-opened as a Special School annex, called Broomhill Bank North, for high functioning autistic children, independent of Lilac Sky. Heavily involved in the failed Castle Community College in Deal. 

Medway Anglican Schools Trust: All Saints CofE Primary; St John's CofE VC Primary; St Margaret's CofE VC Junior, all in Medway. St James CofE Primary Academy, Isle of Grain (Sp) and Rosherville CofE Academy, Northfleet (Sp);(both technically run by the Rochester Diocesan Board of Education). The Board ran the Bishop of Rochester Academy, Chatham (Sp) from its opening in 2010, encountering a variety of difficulties , but at Easter 2015, it was suddenly transferred to the Thinking Schools Academy Trust

Meopham Community Academy (C) sponsored Chantry Community Academy in Gravesend, and was running Istead Rise Primary School in Gravesham, which is in Special Measures and, under the Meopham umbrella  has had a series of appalling Monitoring Inspection Reports. Both schools have been removed from Meopham, with the Meopham Headteacher having left his post, Istead Rise now being taken over as a sponsored academy by Swale Academies Trust, Chantry, now also in Special Measures being transferred to Greenacre Academy Trust. So no longer multi-academy. 

Ministry of Defence: Duke of York's Royal Military School, Dover (Sp).

Oasis Community Learning is part of the Oasis Trust (known as ‘Oasis’), a UK-based Christian registered charity founded by Reverend Steve Chalke in 1985, after being assistant minister at Tonbridge Baptist Church, Kent for four years. Oasis Trust has developed into a family of charities now working on five continents and 11 countries around the world, to deliver housing, education, training, youth work and healthcare. Oasis provides services for, local authorities and national governments, as well as self funded initiatives aimed at providing opportunity to people across the globe. As the website states: “The work of Oasis Community Learning is motivated and inspired by the life, message and example of Christ, which shapes and guides every aspect of each of our Academies”. Oasis, however, is keen to state that "Oasis Academies are open to pupils of all faiths and of no faith and are committed to being inclusive of all communities". Oasis Community Learning runs some 40 academies across the country by including Oasis Academy, Isle of Sheppey and  Oasis Academy Skinner Street (primary in Gillingham) which failed and in receipt of pre-termination warning letter, but has now been judged Good.  Was to run new Free School at Thistle Hill, Sheppey but withdrew (been moved out?). It was proposing to take over Chaucer Technology  School, which failed its OFSTED and has since run into further difficulties,  when the school's problems were resolved, but abandoned the challenge. The school has now closed.   Shockingly, and without notice or consultation, Oasis announced the closure of  Hextable Academy in February 2015 because it claimed it was not able to run it on the provided funding.

Pathway Academy Trust: Culverstone Green Primary and Riverview Infant, both Gravesend. 

 Primary First Trust: Cuxton Primary, Medway (Sp); Wayfield Community Primary (C). Also has, and is based at an academy in Bexleyheath.

Rainham Mark Grammar School. also Twydall Primary, Gillingham (Sp). 

Rivermead Inclusive Trust: Rivermead Special School (Lead school); Hoo St Werburgh Primary; Walderslade Primary

REAch2: The company website states: “The structural vision for REAch2 is to build an Umbrella Trust of Multi-Academy Trusts (MAT)”. It is based in Hillyfield Academy, a SIX (!) form entry primary school in Walthamstow, growing to 1400 children under the age of eleven. Its 55 Primary schools include: Kemsley Primary (Sp) & Milton Court Primary (Sp) in Sittingbourne; Tymberwood Academy (previously Raynehurst Primary School) (Sp) & Copperfield Academy, previously Dover Road Primary, in Gravesham (Sp), all previously in Special Measures.

Roger De Haan Charitable Trust: Folkestone Academy (all through 4-19) (Sp). The Trust controversially and badly managed The Marlowe Academy (Sp) since its opening in 2005. The Academy has now closed having been unable to attract students and in severe financial difficulties .  

The SchoolsCompany Trust, Deal: SchoolsCompany The Goodwin Academy (from Outstanding to SM in one go!) 

Skinners Kent Academy: Skinners Kent Academy, now runs Skinners' Kent Primary School, a new build academy in Knights Wood, Tunbridge Wells. Connected to the Skinners' Company Trust below).

The Skinners' Company. The Skinners' School and has taken over the Marsh Academy, secondary school at New Romney from Tonbridge School. Also runs the Voluntary Aided The Judd School.

Stour Academy Trust, based on Sturry Cof E Primary School (C), incorporating  Finberry Primary School (Sp); Hersden Village Primary School (C); Lansdowne Primary, Sittingbourne (Sp); Adisham CofE Primary (C). Took over from Lilac Sky Academies Trust in January 2017: Richmond Academy (Sp) and Thistle Hill Primary Academy (Sp) both on Sheppey. 

Swale Academies Trust: much favoured by KCC. Based on Westlands school, Sittingbourne (C), incorporating Sittingbourne Community School (Sp) and  Meopham School (Sp), together with five primary schools - Regis Manor Community Primary School (Sp),  and Westlands Primary school (Sp), both Sittingbourne, along with Beaver Green Primary, Ashford (Sp); Southborough Primary, Maidstone (C);  Istead Rise Primary, Gravesham, became a Sponsored Academy after the failure of Meopham Community Primary to manage it. Was taking over Chaucer Technology School, but this has now closed. Also runs the North School, Ashford, after it was placed in Special Measures in March 2014, and took over Pent Valley Technology College at Easter 2015, although this has now also closed.   

Temple Grove Schools Trust.  Partners with Haberdasher's Aske's Federation of Academies - three all age academies including Crayford Academy, (Temple Grove co-sponsors the primary departments) with two primary academies to come.  Temple Grove Academy, Tunbridge Wells (previously Sherwood Park Community Primary school) (Sp) appears to be its first directly run academy. An early monitoring inspection of the school was very critical. 

Tenax Schools Trust.Based on Bennett Memorial Diocesan School Tunbridge Wells. Brenchley and Matfield CofE Primary (C). Will incorporate then new Bishop Chavasse Free School, and  when the latter becomes an academy. 

In partnership with St Andrew’s Church, is proposing to open a new Church of England and Methodist Primary School in Paddock Wood from 2018.

Thinking Schools Academy Trust is an equal partnership of The Rochester Grammar School (C) and All Faiths' Children's Community School (C). The trust also sponsors: Holcombe Grammar School (previously Chatham Grammar School for Boys, Sp);  Gordon Infant and Junior Schools (Sp).  New Horizons Children's Academy, Chatham, a new build academy; Victory Academy (previously Bishop of Rochester) Academy; and Cedar Children's Academy, Strood (Sp). Also runs several Portsmouth schools. Chief Executive controversially resigned in July 2016. 

United Learning An educational charity, controlled by United Church Schools Trust, recently the subject of several Private Eye exposés. Runs 23 academies and 11 private schools, including the private Ashford School. Wye Free School.

Valley Invicta Academies Trust, Maidstone: incorporating Valley Park School (C) & Invicta Grammar school (C).  The Trust also runs: Aylesford Primary School. Now runs three new build primary academies: Valley Invicta Primary School at Holborough Lakes (Snodland), with SEN Unit; Valley Invicta Primary School at Kings Hill, with SEN Unit; Valley Invicta Primary School at Leybourne Chase, with SEN Unit. Will run new Langley Park Primary School, a new build academy opening September 2017.

The Village Academy Trust, based on Selling Church of England Primary School (C): incorporating Dymchurch Primary (C); Lynsted and Norton Primary School (C) & Milstead and Frinstead Church of England Primary school (C); Petham Primary, Canterbury (Sp); Pilgrim's Way Primary School & Nursery, Canterbury after a previous arrangement with St Stephen's Junior School saw the school head into difficulties (Sp). The Trust has now taken over Lydd Primary School (Sp).

TIMU Academy Trust: Bobbing Village SChool (C); Iwade School (C), both in Swale. 

Turner Schools: "bringing national experience in running Outstanding schools to local communities in East Kent" (recently revised from North and East Kent). Set up in April 2016, clearly much favoured by government,Chair of Board in favour of profit making academies. To take over Morehall Primary and Martello Grove Primary in Folkestone, from the controversial Lilac Sky in January 2017. Only apparent bidder for new Free School on site of now closed Pent Valley School in Folkestone. 

Westbrook Trust; based on Brompton Westbrook Primary School, Chatham; Byron Primary (Sp). 

The Williamson Trust, based on Sir Joseph Williamson's Mathematical School in Rochester (C), incorporating the Hundred of Hoo Academy (11-19) (Sp), now has admitted Years R and 1, expanding as a 4-11 all through school; All Hallows Primary School; Elaine Primary Academy (Sp); High Halstow Primary school (C); Stoke Community (C), all in Medway.

Whinless Down Academy Trust: Priory Field and St Martin's primary schools in Dover. 

The Woodard Academies, part of the Woodard Schools group, independently standing Church of England Schools.  This comprises 27 private preparatory and secondary schools, 14 affiliated state schools, and four academies, including St Augustine's Academy, Maidstone (Sp).

Woodland Academy Trust: runs three Primary academies in Bexley, took over controversial Knockhall Primary Academy (Sp), Dartford, from Lilac Sky in January 2017. 

Last modified on Saturday, 15 April 2017 16:57