Diocese of Ely praised for its running of faith schools across East Anglia

The Diocese of Ely, which runs 27 primary schools across East Anglia, has been praised by OfSTED for its “wholehearted commitment to improving life chances of children”.

Government inspectors have praised the ‘journey of systematic improvement’ at the Diocese of Ely Multi-Academy Trust (DEMAT), saying the quality of education in many of its schools had risen.

Established in 2013, DEMAT is one of the biggest multi-academy trusts in the country, headed by the Bishop of Ely and responsible for 27 faith primary schools across Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Peterborough and Suffolk.

In East Cambridgeshire, the trust runs Ely St Mary’s C of E Junior School, Mepal and Witcham C of E Primary School and St Andrews C of E Primary School in Soham.
During a recent separate OfSTED inspection, conducted after the academy had taken over the running of St Mary’s School, the junior school had its rating boosted from “requires improvement” to “good”.

In a review, OfSTED inspectors praised DEMAT chief Andrew Read for his ‘candid reflection, decisive leadership and clarity of purpose’ which they said had done much to improve effectiveness of provision.
“He models very well the behaviours he expects of others. He quickly gained a precise understanding of the strengths and weaknesses in DEMAT and has established the correct priorities for improvement,” they added.

Mr Read said: “The encouraging findings of the inspection reflect the hard work of the staff and pupils within the trust’s schools. The many positive statements about the leadership team are well-deserved, but we also recognise the helpful areas for further improvement identified by OfSTED, many of which mirror the national challenges we face within the education system for which we all share responsibility.”

DEMAT board chairman Peter Maxwell added: “I am delighted with the positive findings by the Inspectors – it is a real credit to our leadership team, and to all those who work so hard in all our schools.”

According to OfSTED, the trust understood each of the schools it worked with due to good communications, regular visits and systematic checks on school performance.
“Over the past 18 months there has been a significant improvement in the quality and effectiveness of leadership, and operational systems across the trust,” it added.
Any under performance in leadership and in teaching was challenged effectively – and in 10 of the 13 schools inspected since they joined DEMAT, leadership and management were judged to be good, OfSTED said.

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