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£5.6 million to raise standards in Walsall and Sandwell schools

Sandwell and Walsall will get more than £5.5 million to improve the education standards of disadvantaged pupils.

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The Government awarded Sandwell £2,918,000 and Walsall £2,776,000 after both areas were designated Priority Education Investment Areas.

Nationally £42 million has been allocated to 24 PEIAs where education standards need improving.

The Department of Education will work with multi-academy trusts to boost pupils' literacy, numeracy, and attendance.

Strategic planning in the areas will try to retain good teachers, improving attendance and moving struggling schools into strong multi-academy trusts.

Multi-academy trusts operating in Sandwell including Ormiston Academies Trust, which operate Ormiston Forge Academy, Cradley Heath, Ormiston Sandwell Community Academy, Oldbury and Wodensborough Ormiston Academy Wednesbury. Christian-based Q3 Academies Trust also runs Q3 Great Barr, Q3 Tipton and Q3 Langley secondary schools along the Government-favoured multi-academy trust model.

In Walsall, Bloxwich-based Matrix Academy Trust's stable of schools includes Barr Beacon School, Aldridge, Bloxwich Academy and Wednesfield Academy.

Schools systems minister Baroness Barran officially announced the £42 million national investment and plan to improve standards through working closer with multi-academy trusts.

She said: “We know the best multi-academy trusts deliver a great education and results for pupils, particularly the most disadvantaged and those with special education needs or disabilities.

“They help teachers manage workload and create career opportunities by working as a family of schools. They spread their impact beyond their schools to the wider education system through initiatives like teaching school hubs, sharing a curriculum, and optimising the use of resources so that they can reinvest in their pupils.

“We are delighted with this package which will scale up the impact of high-quality multi-academy trusts and support the most disadvantaged pupils in the country, levelling up opportunities for all.

“We are grateful for the vital engagement of our External Advisory Group (EAG) and wider stakeholder network for helping to shape this report. We hope to work with them closely on implementation.

“To all the pupils I have met in the past 18 months, who have shared with me their hopes and aspirations for the future - we have written this, and will deliver it, with you in mind.”

Leora Cruddas CBE, chief executive of the Confederation of School Trusts, said: “We welcome the focus in the Regulatory and Commissioning Review report on simple, proportionate risk-based regulation, making better and more transparent commissioning decisions, and support which spreads sector expertise and increases overall capacity to keep improving schools."

She added: "It is right that the report focuses on near-term and medium-term actions to improve regulation and commissioning activity."