First free school to be closed (and it's not Al-Madinah)

(95 Posts)
lalalonglegs Fri 13-Dec-13 16:34:04

Apparently there is a free school that has been quietly doing even worse than the notorious Al-Madinah in Derby. The Discovery New School in Crawley seems to have had the same systemic problems and begs the question how many more schools will the government allow to be opened by the enthusiastic but incompetent? Report here

EdithWeston Fri 13-Dec-13 16:35:48

It was a Montessori school, and had been repeatedly warned about its performance. It's not remotely clear why it did nothing during the time it was in special measures to fix whatever the issues were.

lalalonglegs Fri 13-Dec-13 16:45:54

According to the report, the measures needed to become adequate were so radical that the management couldn't possibly have implemented them in the required time. I just don't understand why more checks and balsnces can't be put in pkace when setting up these schools - it's such s colossal waste of money, effort and, for the poor pupils, time.

EdithWeston Fri 13-Dec-13 16:49:28

If that were the case, it must surely have been way below acceptable standards. For, as long as change implementation has begun, and a clear path to further improvement laid out, it would not come to precipitate closure (whether LEA, academy or free school). It means that not only was there no improvement, there was no plan and no possibility of producing a plan.

bundaberg Fri 13-Dec-13 17:14:56

this is my children's school.

we're not going down without a fucking fight.

what you've read in the press is not even the half of it

Floggingmolly Fri 13-Dec-13 17:20:16

So what's the whole of it, then, bunda?

bundaberg Fri 13-Dec-13 17:21:45

a few points (before I have to go make dinner!)

1) issues with previous management team are the reason nothing has been done til recently. current management should not be responsible for the inaction of the previous management team

2) new management (inc new head teacher) has only been in place for a matter of weeks... and yet we've been slated for not making progress between sept and oct (?) this is the justification they're using for withdrawing funding.

3) timescale is unprecedented. No other school we can find has been given less than 8 months to show improvement.

4) we have a plan that has been looked at by various people including someone from Ofsted who have declared it "robust"... change HAS been implemented including more training for teachers and governors, improvement partners brought in, change in curriculum to a montessori/NC one that is currently used in other state schools and is approved by DfE.
we simply haven't had a chance to show the improvements from this as it has been implemented since October

5) if you think this is anything other than politically motivated you're wrong!

bundaberg Fri 13-Dec-13 17:23:03

i do really need to go feed the starving masses now lol

i can't even think about this any more right now though tbh. there's just so much that hasn't been reported in the press and it's so fucking unfair expecting us to take our kids out of a school that we and they love.

am sure there are plenty who will think i'm just blinkered and wrong, but i know this school, i can see my babies making progress... this is just wrong

lalalonglegs Fri 13-Dec-13 17:24:06

Genuine question: do you think it is a good school? What do you think the Ofsted inspectors got wrong? (I'm genuinely interested - it must be a very difficult time for you and all the other people that have children there. I'm not trying to wind you up.)

lalalonglegs Fri 13-Dec-13 17:24:46

Sorry x-post

bundaberg Fri 13-Dec-13 17:27:07

yes I really, really do.

I'm not going to deny that things need to improve. I honestly believe that the "failings" in teaching are down to it being a Montessori school and simply not matching up with what a school following the NC would do.
My 2 younger children have learnt to read and write there, they're happy there, they come out telling me all kinds of stuff!

I do agree that there have been massive failings with the previous management. But I truly believe that our current head teacher can improve the school if she is given the chance.

There is no other school in this area I would want to send my kids to sad

bundaberg Fri 13-Dec-13 17:27:21

(honestly going now grin )

lalalonglegs Fri 13-Dec-13 17:28:57

Why would closing the school be politically motivated? Who is behind it?

bundaberg Fri 13-Dec-13 17:29:09

one example (and I can prob give many more) is that pieces of the children's work was not marked

in montessori schools the work ISN'T marked.

it makes no sense. we're allowed to open a montessori school, only we aren't allowed to run it as a montessori school because then we don't tick their boxes.

it's a mindfuck

bundaberg Fri 13-Dec-13 17:30:25

Govt want to be seen to be cracking down on failing schools. we'll be made an example of, i suspect.

I don't think we had ANY chance of keeping our funding. see my comment on timescale... it's simply unprecedented. Schools normally have far, far longer to show improvement than we have been given. and no consideration has been given to the fact that we've got a new management team in for only a few weeks

lalalonglegs Fri 13-Dec-13 17:37:43

But free schools were a pet Tory project - it's hugely embarrassing for them to have to close a school that they championed opening less than three years ago.

Bundaberg - are you part of the management or governing body of this school?

EdithWeston Fri 13-Dec-13 17:50:59

I agree that the latter bits of the administrative steps seem to be rushed, though some of the issues had been going on for rather longer.

How OFSTED deals with schools with a different educational philosophy needs to be thrashed out. Summerhills had this trouble, but saw them off. I suppose they need to be assured that by end year 6, the pupils will be of a level to transfer to secondary.

bundaberg Fri 13-Dec-13 17:59:02

No I'm not I'm just a parent who wants our school to stay open

bundaberg Fri 13-Dec-13 18:00:44

Edith yes I agree. And we can't even prove that yet as we only go up to year 5 so far!

lalalonglegs Fri 13-Dec-13 18:00:56

Summerhill is a private school so it can teach what it likes in whatever way it likes as long as enough parents are prepared to pay its fees. I think the situation is different when schools are publicly funded.

bundaberg Fri 13-Dec-13 18:04:27

Which begs the question... Why were we allowed to open to start with?

EdithWeston Fri 13-Dec-13 18:06:44

Summerhill is OFSTEDed as it is boarding. Even though they weren't covering educational provision, they had enough issues with how the philosophy affected pastoral care for there to be a threat of closure.

KepekCrumbs Fri 13-Dec-13 18:07:09

Good luck with the fight Bund. Things are never as the appear in press. Never.

lalalonglegs Fri 13-Dec-13 18:08:43

Which is kind of why I started this thread - why aren't the policies and plans scrutinised more thoroughly before handing over however many millions?

bunda - I'm really sorry for your situation, I can't imagine how stressful it must be for you and your child (plus all the other families and teachers involved).

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