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To think if a school is put in Special Measures then the Head needs to recognise there's a problem?

(48 Posts)
SpecialMeasuresWoe Thu 18-May-17 14:43:17

Dds secondary school has been put in special measures. No surprise to me, her education has been horrific.

School got an inadequate in every category. Then put in special measures rather than requires improvement which according to Ofsted is done if they feel the head, senior team and governers don't recognise the issues or don't know how to move forward.

So far the deputy head has taken an assembly where he's told the kids that there's nothing wrong with the school, that it's a good school, that they're not going to let seven strangers tell us it's not a good school, etc.

And now a letter from the head saying that they're shocked and disappointed, that they disagree with the findings, etc!

The school is in the bottom ten percent of schools nationwide for progress and results. Secondary school by the way. Gcse results are dismal. Only thirty five percent of kids leave with five GCSEs.

I'm concerned they don't realise there's a problem, how can they improve if they refuse to accept something is wrong!

UpsieUpsieUpsieOver Thu 18-May-17 15:02:57

which according to Ofsted is done if they feel the head, senior team and governors don't recognise the issues or don't know how to move forward

That surprises me a bit. I work in a school which is currently in special measures, and the report made it clear that they thought the SLT were doing their best in difficult circumstances. They couldn't not fail us because of hard facts, actual statistics about children's measurable progress, not because the school was badly run in the sense of children being out of control or safety hazards all over the place.

I'm only in a support role and I don't even like the HT very much, but I can't fault the amount of work the HT and deputy have put in in the few months since the result. They have made themselves unpopular. They had had to. A number of long-serving teachers and a handful of kids have left, and morale still isn't great, but measurable results are looking a lot healthier. For all the respect I have for those two people professionally, I don't think I'd want to spend an evening in either of their company - and there's the rub. They are damned if they do and damned if they don't - they risk looking as if they don't accept something's wrong if they don't crack the whip, and alienating other staff if they do. But ultimately only one of those options is going to keep the school functioning.

Puzzledandpissedoff Thu 18-May-17 15:16:09

I wouldn't worry too much - if it really is as bad as all that, the Head will probably be gone in short order

One of the key issues will be working with the LEA, governors, advisors, etc, to turn the place round. I realise they'll probably be feeling pretty shell shocked ATM, but if defensiveness is going to be their only strategy it's unlikely that will be tolerated

SpecialMeasuresWoe Thu 18-May-17 15:17:12

Theres loads of staff left in the last couple of years and I hear rumours the staff don't like the head already.

This is what the report said about the special measures.

"s 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 in the school."

Too late to move dd as she is in year 10.

SpecialMeasuresWoe Thu 18-May-17 15:18:10

It's an academy already so I've been told it's nothing to do with the LEA, is that right?

kesstrel Thu 18-May-17 15:20:42

What are the problems your DD has experienced, OP, out of interest?

SpecialMeasuresWoe Thu 18-May-17 15:25:20

Bullying
Constant stream of supply teachers. She's on her fifth English teacher this year. Last permanent English teacher threw a pen on the floor and walked out in tears, never came back.
Disruption and bad behaviour in class.....kids shouting, telling teachers to fuck off.
The fighting is unbelievable. I've had the police here more than once interviewing Dd as a witness to stuff that has happened in class.
Next to no homework.
No chemistry lessons for a half term, not a single lesson. School didn't know until I told them that Dd hadn't had a chemistry lesson. Chemistry teacher thought he was teaching them biology so they had double biology.

Puzzledandpissedoff Thu 18-May-17 15:29:55

Theres loads of staff left in the last couple of years

From the sound of things I don't blame them hmm

As I understand it, where an academy is concerned it's up to governors to access support to improve the place, whether that's from a consultancy, the LEA or somewhere else. Ultimately the Secretary of State for Education is responsible for academies, so in extreme circumstances can step in - even force a closure if necessary

Trouble is, given that the Sos seems to think academies are some sort of holy grail, there's often a lot of reluctance to address problems

Foxyloxy1plus1 Thu 18-May-17 15:45:19

I was going to say that it will become academised and the senior leadership team replaced in short order, but I see it's already an academy.

They might draft in an executive head from another school in the chain (if it's in a chain.). Otherwise, closure perhaps, dependent upon the capacity of other schools.

Booksandcrocheting Thu 18-May-17 15:46:14

yanbu OP. My DS's school had similarly poor, and went into Special Measures last year. Behaviour isn't brilliant but not as daunting as you describe. Fortunately the head had been due to retire anyway, and the new head is a bit of a troubleshooter type, keep to make his mark and improve behaviour etc.There was a bit of defensiveness by school staff in the aftermath of the Ofsted report, but the new head has tried his best to turn things round. I'ld be very concerned if a new head isn't appointed tbh.

OlennasWimple Thu 18-May-17 15:48:48

YANBU - the head is deluded if he thinks that Special Measures means that there is no problem other than some nasty Ofsted inspectors.

The saving grace is that he will probably be removed from post shortly, and the academy should bring in a new SLT to help turn the school around, hopefully quickly.

SpecialMeasuresWoe Thu 18-May-17 15:52:39

Sadly not in a chain, so no support. Can't imagine the school would be closed as there's a shortage of spaces round here.

Dd says a teacher told her class that the senior leadership team can't be sacked. It's nothing to do with either the LEA or ofsted! So who can sack a crap head?

Puzzledandpissedoff Thu 18-May-17 16:03:24

who can sack a crap head?

With an academy that would be down to the Governors or, in extreme cases, the Sos

What's been the governing body's view of the ongoing problems?

SpecialMeasuresWoe Thu 18-May-17 16:06:31

Governors have also sent a letter out saying that they don't believe there's a problem and that the SLT have their full support.

Witchend Thu 18-May-17 16:10:54

I saw this happen with someone I know's dc's school (primary) that she had ben desperate to get in to.
She told me that the head and chair of governors both said that it was totally unfair and nothing was at all true. The head was then off with stress and the chair of governors (her friend) was going to have to resign as she needed more time with her family. But the entire governors had resigned in protest. (really helpful) It was a brilliant school and everyone was so mean to them.

I looked at the report and was horrified. Children were making almost no progress from year 2 to year 6 (and the results weren't good in year 2 either). And it had been getting worse each year for 5 years, so it wasn't a blip year. It was badly failing in almost every area.

I went back to her and said that the head had almost certainly been asked to leave rather than "off with stress" and the governors had been told to resign or they'd be forced out, and I'd take the dc out immediately.

I was mean and horrid too.

One year later she took all her dc out of the school as she discovered how behind they were and after one of the dc hadn't had a teacher stay more than two weeks.

I think the biggest red flag for me was that the head and the chair of governors was saying "meanies" rather than facing up to the facts which they should have picked up at least 3 years earlier.

SpecialMeasuresWoe Thu 18-May-17 16:15:26

The governors are slated in the report for not being effective, not challenging SLT......not sure they're going to step up and be good at their role now.

Puzzledandpissedoff Thu 18-May-17 16:19:08

Governors have also sent a letter out saying that they don't believe there's a problem and that the SLT have their full support

Oh dear hmm In that case I'd say that - at least in the short term - you're stuffed (and I believe you said it was too late to take your DD out?)

Profuse apologies for sounding so negative, but no point in wrapping it up in the face of such denial

SpecialMeasuresWoe Thu 18-May-17 16:23:59

Sadly I think you're right Puzzled

kesstrel Thu 18-May-17 16:26:47

OP, could you contact your MP?

TipTop333 Thu 18-May-17 16:30:30

Wow, governors and SLT truly have their heads buried in the sand on this one.

They will be back soon and will be looking at the progress being made. I would assume that, with a challenge to the outcome, the head will not instigate any changes and then shit will REALLY hit the fan.

Have they given a timeline for returning?

SpecialMeasuresWoe Thu 18-May-17 16:39:04

Can't see anything in the ofsted report about when they're coming back. Just noticed the report says there should be an external review of governance to see how this can be improved.

Head says that ofsted will return but again doesn't say when.

Would my MP be interested? They're a bit useless and lazy to be honest and I expect I wiould just get a waffle reply saying they have confidence in the ofsted system, etc.

I did think about emailing ofsted saying this is what the school has said since you left! But their website says they only deal with complaints if the schools complaint system has been exhausted.

AnnetteCurtains Thu 18-May-17 16:46:07

Normally they will get visits /advice from HMI but not sure if this happens with academy's

avocadosripe Thu 18-May-17 16:55:26

Unfortunately, I have extensive experience with SM!

SLT are probably on the defensive. But if they didn't see it coming then ...

That being said, OFSTED aren't always correct, although it sound she like they are in this case.

Puzzledandpissedoff Thu 18-May-17 17:04:56

There's a bit about repeat visits here, under "schools judged inadequate"

www.gov.uk/guidance/being-inspected-as-a-maintained-school-or-academy

sahbear Thu 18-May-17 17:11:25

Is it really too late to change schools? She will surely do better somewhere else if it is as horrendous as it sounds. It must be close to impossible to learn in that environment. In your situation I would be looking at schools. Others nearby may be using the examining bodies and very similar g.c.s.e curriculum.

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