A CHURCH Trust which runs five schools in Herefordshire has been described as a failure and its performance 'unacceptable' by government inspectors.

Two of its Hereford schools - Hereford Academy and St Thomas Cantilupe Primary - have recently been rated inadequate by Ofsted inspectors.

The Bishop Anthony Educational Trust (BAET), part of the Diocese of Hereford, runs 16 schools - two secondary and 14 primary - across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire.

Of five inspected recently, three need special measures and one 'requires improvement.' Burley Gate and St Michael’s were rated good in Ofsted short inspections, however, at the end of last year

Now Ofsted have published a critical report of the Trust's overall performance.

But there is also support for the early work of new Chief Executive and his plan to turn things around.

The Trust's Herefordshire schools are Hereford Academy; St Thomas Cantilupe; Burley Gate; St Michael's at Bodenham; and Eastnor.

Ofsted praise the Trust's 'good moral intentions and clear purpose of meeting an educational need in the community' but say: "However, this has failed."

"BAET has not been successful enough in improving the quality of education for pupils in schools where there are significant weaknesses.

This is unacceptable."

Trust senior leaders are criticised and there has been 'a lack of a coherent strategy to improve the quality of education.'

But the new Chief Executive 'has an accurate view of the extensive improvements required, and has begun to improve communication between the trust and the school leaders.'

James McNeillie, Ofsted Assistant Regional Director, West Midlands, said: "It is heartening that he understands what has to improve, and has already brought about more effective oversight of governance."

Chief Exec Andrew Teale, who was appointed this January, said he was very disappointed by the report and knew there was a lot of work to do.

But he said: “Many of the points raised by Ofsted had been identified prior to their visit in March and it is pleasing that the evaluation acknowledges that progress is already being made.

“BAET has been moving in the right direction for the past few months and the changes we have implemented are already beginning to bear fruit."

The Trust has sought help from national education experts and four new Heads have been appointed this year.

The report is online at: https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/provider/1000/2326