Academy boss of biggest primary sponsor in country pledges to ‘not stop’ until schools improve

Steve Lancashire, chief executive of Reach2

Steve Lancashire, chief executive of Reach2 - Credit: Archant

The boss of a major education group, which is taking over two schools in the Ipswich area, has promised to “not rest” until they become ‘outstanding’.

Reach2, the biggest primary academy sponsor in the country, is taking over six schools in Suffolk.

Two of the schools are Sprites Primary in Ipswich and Martlesham Beacon Hill Primary School. They will move away from overall Suffolk County Council control and become the responsibility of the academy sponsor which will have a greater say in how they are run.

Both schools currently have ‘requires improvement’ Ofsted inspection grades – one below ‘good’ and one above ‘inadequate’.

Reach2, which runs 35 primaries across the country, says it improves results at Key Stage 2, when children are between seven and 11, by 15%.


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Steve Lancashire, chief executive of Reach2, said it was the trust’s mission to ensure every child is in an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rated school.

“We expect all the schools will become outstanding – it is no less than a child deserves and we will not rest until that happens,” he said.

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“We will do our best and constantly strive to make sure the schools do improve and to work with them until they become outstanding schools – we need to make sure the results are improving”.

It has been a whirlwind three years since Reach2 was started. By September it will add another 16 schools to its portfolio (including Suffolk’s six) – giving it a total of 51.

Mr Lancashire said the trust had a strong record of improving schools. He cited the example of Chapel End Junior School in London, which went from being placed into special measures and an ‘inadequate’ rating in 2012 to “good’ with ‘outstanding’ features in a recent inspection this year.

Reach2 also focuses on a collaborative approach between all the schools it manages across the UK.

“We know what great education looks like, as I have said it’s about collaboration, not competing with others but supporting them – shared ICT, shared resources,” Mr Lancashire said.

“Our new family of schools in Suffolk will get support from across the country, that’s part of our ethos. We have already established a high quality team to support the schools in Suffolk.”

He did not rule out changes being made to schools’ staff and leadership teams, as it was something that would need to be assessed from September.

Crowfoot Community Primary in Beccles and three Lowestoft primaries – Meadow, St Margaret’s and Northfield St Nicholas will also become Reach2 schools by September.

What do you think of the changes? If you have an education story email matt.hunter@archant.co.uk or call 01473 324802.

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