OXFORDSHIRE'S largest group of academy schools has halted expansion after a stint as 'the fastest-growing trust in England'.

Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust runs 33 schools, mostly in Oxfordshire, after taking control from Oxfordshire County Council under the academies system.

In terms of numbers of schools rather than pupils, it is the county's biggest multi-academy trust, according to the county council's 'academy conversions' spreadsheet.

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The trust's latest accounts, for the financial year 2017-18, reveal that it does not plan to take on any more schools this year except Wootton-by-Woodstock CE Primary School in West Oxfordshire.

Its annual report, published by Companies House, said: "Having been the fastest-growing trust in England two years ago, trustees have decided to spend the majority of 2018-19 consolidating our position as an effective, stable organisation, and to ask those schools which have expressed an interest in joining us to be patient until 2019-20.

"The exception is Wootton-by-Woodstock CE Primary, whose conversion was originally scheduled for 2017-18, but this slipped into October 2018 for operational reasons."

It said it intended to encourage closer partnership between its community of schools by using five geographical 'hubs,' which will see schools in the same areas work together.

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The accounts also state: "We intend to restructure the central senior management team in recognition of the changes to our needs now we are such a large, established multi-academy trust.

"We intend to place more leadership emphasis on school improvement, whilst ensuring we have sufficient management of HR, finance, health and safety, governance and compliance to secure the day-to-day running of the organisation at the most effective level."

Oxfordshire's second-largest academy group is the River Learning Trust, which runs more than 20 schools including The Cherwell School in Summertown.

Oxford Diocesan Schools Trust was founded by the Diocese of Oxford in 2012, and also runs a handful of schools across the county border in Berkshire.