Devon

Damning Ofsted report for Plymouth CAST multi-academy trust

John Mannix
Image caption A spokesman for Plymouth CAST says John Mannix has been "placed on leave"

A trust running 36 Catholic schools is letting down its most disadvantaged pupils, according to Ofsted.

A damning report raised concerns about how £2m of government money earmarked for poorer students at Plymouth CAST schools was spent.

The trust says its chief executive John Mannix has been "placed on leave".

Inspectors visited 10 trust schools in October, according to a report in the Plymouth Herald.

Ofsted said their visits revealed that some schools had seen a significant decline in their performance since they joined the trust, which was established in 2014.

Of four schools that were judged to be good before joining the trust, two were now judged to require improvement and one to require special measures.

It criticised the leadership of the Plymouth CAST saying the chief executive and its directors do not have "sufficient understanding of school performance".

'Missing £2m'

The inspectors also said trust leaders had no clear strategy to support disadvantaged pupils who were not progressing as well as other students nationally.

They raised concerns about how £2m of government funding to support these children had been spent.

"The CEO, Trust board and the Trust's area advisers cannot explain how this funding has been used and what difference it has made to improve the achievement of these pupils. The answer is not nearly enough", the report said.

The trust runs schools in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset.

Its chairman Sandy Anderson admitted the results are not good enough and said the trust is taking "swift and robust action to turn this situation around".

Directors of the trust are appointed by the Bishop of Plymouth, Bishop Mark O'Toole.

He said: "Catholic schools have a reputation for excellence and supporting students to achieve their best. It is clear that Plymouth CAST has not been reaching that benchmark in some schools and we must move quickly to put things right.

"As a diocese, we are clear that children in the South West deserve the same quality of Catholic education available elsewhere, and we are committed to making this happen."

Mr Mannix was not available for comment.

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