Charity to transfer all its schools after critical Ofsted reports

14 Jun 2023 News

Catch22, a charity that supports young people in need, has decided to wind-up its multi academies trust (MAT) and transfer the seven schools it governed to other organisations. 

According to newly filed documents, the trustees have taken “the strategic decision” to re-broker the seven academies in its trust and wind-up the MAT altogether. 

Catch22 made the decision in collaboration with regional schools commissioners and after Ofsted rated all seven schools under its care poorly.

The charity said it anticipates that the re-brokering process, whereby the schools move to another trust, will be complete by August 2023. 

All of its seven schools are rated poorly by Ofsted

All of the seven schools managed by Catch22’s MAT, which is sponsored by the charity, are rated as either “inadequate” or “requires improvement” by Ofsted.

The Ashwood Academy and Coppice Spring Academy were rated inadequate in 2022. 

Special measures were put in place at Coppice Spring by Ofsted, with a monitoring visit last March reporting that “too many pupils still do not attend school regularly.”

The Spires Academy in Northamptonshire was rated as inadequate in October 2021. 

The Austen Academy and Fen Rivers Academy were rated as requires improvement in September 2022. 

Brunel and Burton academies were both rated as requires improvement in 2020. 

Catch22 also transferred the inadequate-rated Everitt Academy to education provider SENDAT last year.

The financial accounts state that Catch22’s MAT transferred liabilities amounting to £1.7m with the transfer of Everitt Academy.

Catch22: ‘Last few years have been particularly challenging’

Daniel Jansen, chief executive of the Catch22 MAT, told Civil Society: “The last few years have been a particularly challenging time to deliver alternative provision and specialist education, not least because of the impact of the pandemic and the wider funding environment.

“We’re incredibly proud of all our staff who work so hard to provide good quality education to our pupils, in what are undoubtedly difficult circumstances. This comes on the back of the regional school commissioner’s decision to re-broker three of our academies over the last 12 months because of challenging Ofsted ratings.” 
“The RSC also made it clear that they would look to re-broker any other schools that became ‘inadequate’ and asked us to consider our future strategy for the trust given the reduced number of schools spread across a wide geographical area. In reaching a decision we have considered many factors such as the geography, the number and type of schools, the capacity to improve and, most importantly, what would be best for the pupils.
“In our view, a smaller and stretched MAT will be unable to provide the excellence that we strive for so, we regretfully informed the regional school commissioner that we would like to re-broker all of our MAT schools to ensure they have the best opportunity to deliver high-quality services moving forward.
“Leading up to the transfers, we’re continuing to address all areas for improvement raised by Ofsted, such that our students and staff are in the best place possible before being transferred to a new provider.

“All staff working in a school will remain in post and transfer to the new provider once they’re identified.”

Janssen’s role will be made redundant as it will not transfer with the schools.

‘We were not able to grow our delivery to the scale required’

The MAT was incorporated in November 2012 and has a board of six trustees, three members and two finance officers, according to government documents. 

Catch22’s accounts read: “We are really proud of our delivery of apprenticeships and the ‘good’ grade two Ofsted report achieved, but we were not able to grow our delivery to the scale required to deliver the impact we wanted and to ensure its financial sustainability and therefore concluded that the interests of our apprentices and staff would be better served as part of a specialist learning provider.”

Catch22 provided services and recharged costs of £741,000 for the MAT, an increase of 29% on the year prior (2021: £573,000). 

At the date of writing the accounts, the charity was owed £413,000 by the MAT compared to £266,000 for the 2021 financial year. 

Income set to drop as a result

The closure of the MAT is expected to make the charity's income fall in the financial year 2023-24, the accounts for the year ending August 2022 read.  

Though this will occur in the “short-term” the charity “intend[s] to look to grow the organisation” to compensate.

The accounts read: “We believe that scale offers financial protections and allows us to continue to offer a platform to social entrepreneurs and smaller organisations to develop their ideas and secure future impact.”

The accounts state that Catch 22 recognises growth opportunities in its justice work and the expansion of its children’s home offer.

It will also seek mergers and acquisitions with other organisations where it can “increase impact and improve financial sustainability”.  

The Community Links Trust and Ripplez merged into the charity last year. 

Editor's note 

This article was amended on 3 July 2023 to remove the phrase "The Spires Academy in Kent was rated good in January 2023" as it was ascertained that this academy was not managed by Catch-22. 

The Spires Academy managed by Catch-22 is in Northamptonshire and was rated inadequate by Ofsted in 2021. 

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