Figures released by the Department for Education (DfE) show that in two cases, both in 2012, the letters were followed up with warning notices.
There are currently 912 sponsored academies, which are schools in struggling circumstances that have been taken out of local authority control and taken over by a sponsor. This compares with 2,532 converter academies – Ofsted good or outstanding schools which have made the switch to academy status.
The DfE says the sponsored academy programme has been a “huge success”, but has threatened action, including a possible change of sponsor, against a “small number” of academies that are not performing well. Of the cases identified since 2011, there have been six changes of sponsor as a result of the DfE’s intervention.
Of the 17 academies to receive pre-warning letters this term, five are operated by the Academies Enterprise Trust (AET) and two by the The Kemnal Academies Trust (TKAT).
A statement from the DfE said: “Academies have largely responded extremely well to the challenge – on average at the eight academies issued with a pre-warning notice in 2011 to 2012, the proportion of pupils achieving five or more GCSEs including English and maths at C or better improved by an average of 16 percentage points in 2012.
“The 2013 results will be reported in January but are expected to show another increase. We expect all sponsors issued pre-warning letters to respond in similar fashion.”