Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Call for Head to go? Crisis as new Academy is in special measures

Update: last night the Leader of the Council has called on the Chair of the Governors David Jones and the Headteacher of Birkdale High School to consider their position

From Good with outstanding features to special measures as a new academy is a journey  no school wishes to travel. But to make that journey as a new flagship Academy raises important questions of accountability and governance.

Birkdale High School has made that journey. Ofsted visited in December 2011  and yet the report was only published on the website this morning. It is well known that drafts have been in circulation for some time. I have never before heard of such a delay.  Please read the report it can be found here:


It does seem wrong that if this school had still been under the LA the Director of Education would have already visited and the Headteacher and Chair of Governors would have been interviewed. As an elected representative I could have asked questions of the Chair of Education/Cabinet member and the Director of Education. Is the Secretary of State going to answer such questions about hundreds of schools?

The report states:

Inspection grades: 1 is outstanding, 2 is good, 3 is satisfactory and 4 is inadequate Please turn to the glossary for a description of the grades and inspection terms
Inspection judgements

Overall effectiveness: how good is the school?
The school's capacity for sustained improvement
Main findings
In accordance with section 13(3) of the Education Act 2005, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector is of the opinion that this school requires special measures because it is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and the persons responsible for leading, managing or governing the school are not demonstrating the capacity to secure the necessary improvement.
Progress is inadequate and students do not achieve as well as they should.
Students’ performance in their best eight subjects at the end of Key Stage 4 has declined over the last three years. In many subjects other than English and mathematics, attainment is too low and progress too slow in relation to students’ above average starting points on entry to the school. Teaching and the use of assessment are inadequate in securing consistently satisfactory progress. In the large majority of lessons observed by inspectors work was not pitched appropriately to meet students’ different learning needs. The failure of senior leaders to improve teaching quality and tackle inappropriate behaviour has contributed to a far less favourable picture of provision and outcomes than at the time of the previous inspection.
Although there are examples of good practice, these are too infrequent. While opportunities for independent learning were observed in some lessons, they were ineffective in securing progress for all students because some students chose not to participate and set tasks were insufficiently challenging. Some good examples of marking were observed but the use of attainment levels and students’ targets to plan learning appropriately are inconsistent.

It goes on (remember 4 is inadequate):

........While there are examples of the governing body challenging the school, governors are not involved sufficiently in self-evaluation and the monitoring of progress against the development plan; they do not effectively hold leaders and managers to account.

and again:

These are the grades for the leadership and management

The effectiveness of leadership and management in embedding ambition and driving improvement
Taking into account:
The leadership and management of teaching and learning
The effectiveness of the governing body in challenging and supporting the school so that weaknesses are tackled decisively and statutory responsibilities met
The effectiveness of the school's engagement with parents and carers
The effectiveness of partnerships in promoting learning and well-being
The effectiveness with which the school promotes equality of opportunity and tackles discrimination
The effectiveness of safeguarding procedures
The effectiveness with which the school promotes community cohesion
The effectiveness with which the school deploys resources to achieve value for money

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