Government threatens intervention at Voyager Academy in Peterborough

New Principal at Voyager Academy   Steve Munday EMN-141103-145324001
New Principal at Voyager Academy Steve Munday EMN-141103-145324001
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The government is threatening to remove the trust which runs the city’s struggling Voyager Academy and replace it with a new sponsor.

The academy run by Comberton Academy Trust is currently rated as ‘inadequate’ by regulators Ofsted and recorded disappointing GCSE results this year where just 19 per cent of pupils achieved five A*-C grades including English and maths.

The push to remove Comberton as the academy’s sponsor has come from Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson who on Monday spoke in Parliament asking for the government to intervene.

He has also written in the past to the Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan, to make the same demand.

Mr Jackson has now received a letter from Lord Nash, the minister responsible for academies, which said that Regional Schools Commissioner Tim Coulson is “actively looking for alternative sponsors for Voyager Academy.”

Lord Nash added: “If there is another trust willing to sponsor the academy which we feel is better placed to create improvement we would give it very serious consideration.”

The £26 million academy in Walton opened in September 2007 and was put into special measures in February 2014.

And its rating from Ofsted has not improved since despite four further monitoring inspections.

In July, Peterborough City Council’s education chief Jonathan Lewis said children at the academy, which has 1,300 pupils, were not getting the education they deserve.

In addition, almost half of the 17 expulsions at Peterborough schools in the 2014/15 academic year were at Voyager.

A new principal with experience at struggling schools, Scott Hudson, took over in September which the Trust claims is already making a noticeable and positive impact.

Mr Jackson said: “If we don’t take urgent action to remove the failing academy sponsors then we will be failing local children.

“That is why I am doing my best to lobby ministers to this end to use the powers they have to tackle the problem before yet another academic year passes.”

Asked if the council should take over at Voyager, he added: “We need an academy sponsor with a track record of turning round very badly failing schools and that’s a point ministers are well aware of.”

The trust’s chief executive Stephen Munday said it had set up a scrutiny committee which is bringing in experise from the Regional Schools Commissioner’s office and the Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust, which runs Nene Park Academy and West Town Primary.

Mr Munday added: “Comberton Academy Trust is a successful multi-academy trust, with responsibility for four schools across Peterborough and Cambridgeshire, and a strong track record for providing excellent outcomes for our students.

“We continue to work closely with the Regional Schools Commissioner to drive up standards and improve performance at The Voyager Academy.”