Failing school - what can we do?

(11 Posts)
fidelix Fri 10-Jun-16 16:21:34

DC's school failed an Ofsted inspection and it was just announced that the entire senior leadership and virtually all the experienced teachers are leaving at the end of this year. The school's had a bad year but leaving basically no-one in charge doesn't seem ideal (there is a part-time head from another local school whom the local authority brought in to help who is also leaving at the end of this year, to be replaced by another similar).

But short of taking your own child out, where can the school go from here? Is there anything parents can/should do? Is it worth contacting the local authority? The governors? Anyone else?

It's obviously very unsettling for the children.

WhirlwindHugs Fri 10-Jun-16 16:30:38

Oh dear, I was going to say our school is in special measures and change seems to be going quite well, but I would worried about so many senior staff leaving and not having a proper head teacher.

What were the problems? What's the school's plan and how is implementing it going? The governers are supposed to have oversight so would be useful to talk with them if possible I think.

If the teaching was poor for eg have they hired experienced well rated by ofsted teachers to replace them?

If nothing seems to be going to plan I would be thinking about leaving to be honest.

admission Fri 10-Jun-16 17:09:09

No matter how you look at it, if the school has gone into special measures then the senior leadership team of the school (or if they are new, the previous senor leadership team) have to bear responsibility for the poor performance. So it might be in the longer term a positive move for the school and the pupils that they have gone.
I think you can more or less guarantee that the school will, being in special measures, be moving towards becoming an academy. That does not happen overnight but will happen within the next 6 months. That will inject more urgency into improving the school, with staff on place but it is to some extent your decision about your child, as whether you try and move them to another school. If however they have say 3 years still to go, then it might be they are best served by staying in the school and seeing the school improve with time.

catslife Fri 10-Jun-16 17:14:07

Have you seen (and read) a copy of the OFSTED report?
Has the school held a meeting for parents to explain what is going to happen next (that is good practice) and should be arranged asap.
We went through this scenario when our dd was in Y1 and the school improved fairly rapidly. The LEA found replacement teachers and Head. It may be different now though as "failing" schools usually become academies.
The governors may not know and could be replaced themselves (particularly if the school becomes an academy).
BTW Schools in special measures cannot recruit NQTs they need to have experienced staff.

fidelix Fri 10-Jun-16 18:06:02

Thanks for useful info.

We've had no meeting with parents and I'm kind of hoping that some friendly academy is out there to ride to the kids' rescue. Because I don't see how the school can be run with no head, deputy or senior teachers at all! Or how they can all be recruited before Sept.

My DC only has a short time left at the school so probably not worth leaving - but I think younger kids are leaving in droves.

bojorojo Fri 10-Jun-16 18:17:45

If the LA is providing an interim part time head they should arrange for that head to meet with parents ASAP. I am surprised that staff have gone as well as the SLT . Usually teachers stay on to work with the new head to allow for continuity even if they need to improve. Therefore there seems to have been a bit of a walk- out and this is not helpful for the children. The governors should also explain the position but if they are also crap, they may not and will probably be replaced. Express dissatisfaction at the LA. If they were supporting the school, they have not done a good job.

Personally , I would leave . However that may not be an option if there are no places available elsewhere. It is appalling that schools get themselves into this position and no-one sees the decline until it is too late - and it is never one bad year! It is a gradual decline in most cases. Ask the LA to spell out how they will recruit, what SLT will look like next year and ask to see the Action Plan.

fidelix Fri 10-Jun-16 18:20:34

It's a faith school (voluntary aided) - does that make any difference to whether all the responsibility lies with the local authority or not?

catslife Fri 10-Jun-16 20:58:18

VA schools are outside LEA control so yes it would make a difference. There should be an office at the diocese responsible for education (although some services can be contracted out to the LEA).
The LEAs do monitor the peformance of local schools by the way but this service has been subject to government cuts.

bojorojo Sun 12-Jun-16 00:34:53

IT is the Diocesan Education Officer who should be dealing with this. Also, in a VA school, the Governing Body employ the staff so they must have removed the staff or agreed to them leaving. Therefore direct your questions to the Chairman of Governors. The Diocese may have disbanded the GB so this may not be possible. I would also ask the Diocese for details about what is happening. They may parachute staff in. Whatever they do, they must prepare an Improvement Plan and parents should get an executive copy. I assume you know what Diocese runs the school? Who are the Foundation Governors? Hold them to account.

3asAbird Sun 12-Jun-16 01:40:15

Went through similar in 2012 so feel your pain.

We decided jump ship.
It was rc va school .
Head was off sick.
Month after we left he rather unexpected retire it was clear the deputy head dident get on with him.
They had whole year of job share heads I believe helped by local authority on 1 year secondment

The diocese also involved in some way as after bad ofsted came bad church inspection

The governors then appointed new head
Many teachers left
They got rid all tas who had been there many years and to us seemed good
They within last year had another poor ofsted

Sats wise they doing ok and many freinds who stayed said it improved

But many left they 50p laces short of capacity.

Was 1 half intake now they lucky get full single intake of 30 applying

Also another factor throw at you is when lea allocate spaces if all other local schools oversubscribed they can't allocate a faith school

This means school still struggling for numbers which must Hurt them financially.

ReallyTired Mon 13-Jun-16 00:24:46

Special measures is carnage and in our experience it takes about 3 years for a school to get back on its feet. Things get worse before they get better. Year 6s in a special measures school are in a glasty position as they get none of the benefits of an improved school, are often very behind and under huge pressure to do well.

If your child is in year 4/5 then it's definitely worth jumping ship. With younger children they often benefit from an effort to improve teaching. A lot has been thrown at Dd's school financially by the LEA. Of course in the new world of academies I have no idea if there is funding for school improvement.

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