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Why is my local academy still open?

(73 Posts)
TheDailyMailareabunchofcunts Wed 27-Apr-16 18:35:20

When it's been failing for so many years
It's not even been inspected by Ofsted since this time last year and is currently graded 3.

It results are shocking. The value added is shocking. Yes it has a large proportion of disadvantaged children but why is this school allowed to continue.

Does anyone have any ideas? It's a school that has been reincarnated into an academy as it had been failing in its previous form for many years too. New multimillion pound building. Fantastic facilities. But still it fails.
And ofsted leave it open and I don't understand why they haven't visited for a year.

How bad do things have to be to close a school? Are tiny improvements enough, when it was so bad to start with?

PatriciaHolm Wed 27-Apr-16 19:46:34

An ofsted grade 3 is "requires improvement" and would trigger another assessment within 2 years, so they have another year before ofsted are late.

Janek Wed 27-Apr-16 19:49:01

And 'requires improvement' was previously known as 'satisfactory'. Which was, y'know, satisfactory.

noblegiraffe Wed 27-Apr-16 21:04:19

If they closed it, what would happen to the fantastic facilities and where would that huge number of disadvantaged kids go? They already shut it down and reopened it which didn't help, so why would shutting it down again make any difference?

TheDailyMailareabunchofcunts Wed 27-Apr-16 21:07:56

Noble. I don't know. All I know is that they amalgamated other schools into this new academy and it's now the only option in this town for many children. And it isn't good enough. All the MC parents send their kids out of area or move house or do anything to avoid it. It now has 70% PP children that deserve a decent school and it's not good enough to let it rot

JWIM Wed 27-Apr-16 21:22:28

Contact the Regional School Commissioner and ask what they are doing to ensure improved outcomes for this academy's pupils. The RSC oversees academies.

noblegiraffe Wed 27-Apr-16 21:26:21

If you look at last year's Ofsted report it should talk about actions being taken and capacity for improvement.

ReallyTired Wed 27-Apr-16 21:33:03

There are schools near me with terrible results and they have been terrible for generations. It is not so easy to close and re open a school. Often the problem is the families and lack of expectation. It's not easy to change overnight.

Certainly the pupil premium has been a step forward, however while we have selection by postcode there will always be sink school. It is saying the unsayable that some areas have more than their fair share of children with learning difficulties. Learning difficulties are often genetic and people with learning difficulties are more likely to be on benefits long term.

I realise I will get flamed, as of course some pupil premium children are academically gifted. However children on free school meals are statistically more likely to have learning difficulties.

TaIkinPeace Wed 27-Apr-16 22:05:07

Its like my local school : new building, loads of money, 400 empty places, dire results.
closing it will not make those families vanish

icklekid Wed 27-Apr-16 22:07:17

It takes time to turn a school around and (often) for the new leadership team to make a difference.

TaIkinPeace Wed 27-Apr-16 22:12:31

My local school has been in the bottom ranges of UK schools for two decades
nothing will turn it around

CookieDoughKid Wed 27-Apr-16 22:19:48

It's the families. Until they improve their attitude to making education a priority a school isn't going to turn things round easily. Education starts at home IMO.

CookieDoughKid Wed 27-Apr-16 22:24:38

And it's not longer shocking for schools to put up with knives and now guns being bandied around in some inner city schools. My friend is a now departmental head and has worked in education in various capacities . The bad schools have got so bad I won't name but in London. The violence is shocking. He feels pupils behaviour is just criminal these days and now no more accountability as schools just don't want to expel.

TaIkinPeace Wed 27-Apr-16 22:40:05

Not sure what violence has to do with it.
Not an issue at my local school, just v v v low aspirations

now no more accountability as schools just don't want to expel.
Too right.
Schools have to find PRU places for kids rather than just wash their hands.

ReallyTired Wed 27-Apr-16 23:03:55

I think that the concentration of families with low aspirations makes it hard for a child who does want to achieve. Some schools do not have enough children to run a top set. Schools for poor kids effectively become secondary miderns with the only difference is that selection is by the size of daddy's bank account.

Grammar schools gave some hope that a child could escape low aspiration. Now the middle classes can bag the best schools.

Balletgirlmum Wed 27-Apr-16 23:10:42

My local school was doing ok until it suddenly got a required improvement OFSTED & was forced to turn into an academy.

The follow up inspection 2 years later saw it slip into special measures. What I find appalling is that children arrive with average results/ability but leave 5 years later with below average progress. Inspectors reported no differentiation in lessons meaning weaker children struggled to understand/keep up & higher ability children coasted. The academy trust was criticised.

I will do anything not to send my children there.

It's 6th form is closing but the school remains

Balletgirlmum Wed 27-Apr-16 23:12:14

Nearby in a traditionally poorer area is a school my Neice goes to that appears to be doing really well. High percentage of PP etc but children are making good progress & achieve the results they are capable of.

ReallyTired Wed 27-Apr-16 23:34:31

Lot depends on the proportion of immigrants. There is a huge difference between London schools serving low income areas and schools serving the coastal towns. White working class child underachieve compared with immigrants in the same income bracket.

bojorojo Thu 28-Apr-16 00:18:16

There are very few high achieving children these days who have parents with low aspirations and a poor education themselves. This is why grammar schools do nothing for social mobility any longer. However, although an academy may get rebranded, unless the roll falls to below a level where the expense of maintaining the curriculum cannot be met, it will not be closed.

Ofsted wrote a report recently that there are not enough good school leadership teams to go around all schools and neither are there enough good teachers. There are huge teacher shortages in some subjects. Unless you have every aspect of what makes a good school in place, you are not likely to get one, academy or not. It is miserable beyond belief that children still have to put up with this.

My BIL teaches in a school with 29% A-C including M and E. Is this one of the worst in the country? White working class, except lots are not working. Traditionally a run-down area - but to many it is home. They do not intend to escape! (High levels of truancy at the school though). Fab new building and glossy academy web site. Always been a problem school in its many reincarnations over the years. A whole series of well meaning heads but no-one ever turns it around. Now another school has been established and that creams off the better students. It wouldn't if the original school was any good!

ReallyTired Thu 28-Apr-16 07:07:29

Often these secondary schools with bad results have children coming up from the primaries with a total lack of the basics. Secondary schools are not equipped to teach phonics or basic maths. Parents do provide an environment where home work can be done.

There are initiatives like extending the school day, but it is generally fronded on by middle class mumsnetters who want their child to have time for extra curricula activites.

TimeforaNNChange Thu 28-Apr-16 07:22:01

How bad do things have to be to close a school? Are tiny improvements enough, when it was so bad to start with?

Yes and no.

A lot of the changes that are made in an inadequate school, or one which requires improvement, are not immediately apparent to an outside observer. If you speak to staff in these schools, they will invariably tell you that things have changed behind the scenes though (whether they think it is for the better or not depends on the staff members).

Improvements to the standards of teaching, or the way in which the DC's are safeguarded, do not have an immediate impact on results - it can be several years before the externally assessed results begin to reflect the improvements within the school.
While OFSTED do not reinspect RI schools for two years (although they can come into the school and do monitoring inspections during that time) there is a requirement on the school to ensure that they have external scrutiny to judge the progress being made - this can be bought in by academies from the LA School Improvement Team or other Education Service Provider.

If there are concerns that the school is not making progress, then OFSTED can return earlier and conduct another full inspection, which may well deem it inadequate. The term Special Measures describes a particular judgement, which is that the school requires "special measures" to bring about rapid improvement - and the fact that a school has been previously judged Ri but has not improved can be used as evidence of that.

Badbadbunny Thu 28-Apr-16 08:17:47

Even if it has New multimillion pound building. Fantastic facilities it's people not buildings that matter. If the kids come from backgrounds where education isn't valued, you could have gold plated desks and the world's best teachers - the majority of the kids still wouldn't be motivated to learn.

But, if a kid wants to learn, they'll do that whatever the surroundings - just look at some of the "schools" in Africa which are little more than shacks with virtually no equipment, but they have motivated kids who get an education against the odds!

Shutting down a school and then re-opening it with a different name won't make a jot of difference if the same pupils are put back in.

In my town, there's been a secondary school that was crap 40 years ago, and has remained crap ever since, despite new management, new facilities, etc. It's in a bad part of town, so the only pupils it got were from generations of under-achievers. The kids' parents went there and didn't achieve much, history repeats itself. The LA have taken a brave decision to break the cycle and have closed it down, not just for a few months, but for several years! The existing roll and new entrants were spread out over several other schools, including 3 in nearby towns rather than the same town, meaning school bus transport - the main impact being that the disruptive kids have been spread out and their impact "watered down" in the hope that good influences will overcome the negative generational attitudes. Their plan is to re-open it in phases as a specialist school, and then plan it's intake so that it's catchment area is far wider, taking in the other towns, so that it won't be dominated by the local "problem" families. As I say, quite a brave plan - history will be the judge as to whether it works.

t4gnut Thu 28-Apr-16 08:47:13

It has 2 years before a further inspection on RI - which is not failing, it requires improvement .

What do you expect? Even it its graded a 4 it will remain open with a new sponsor and leadership team parachuted in.

catslife Thu 28-Apr-16 09:00:36

As others have said RI is not failing. It takes time for a school to be turned around. There is a school near us that used to have a similar profile and was generally considered one of the worst in the area/worst in the country but has turned round and (5 years on) now has good results and is oversubscribed so it is possible.
In order for schools to improve though, they need to regain the trust of the local community and be able to attract children from a wider range of backgrounds.
For a school to permanently close, there must be enough secondary school places in other schools to be able to offer places to all the children in the area. It isn't just about how bad a particular school is.

teacherwith2kids Thu 28-Apr-16 09:41:58

As catslife says, it takes time to change a school around. Since Ofsted last inspected, there has been 1 further set of results - but that will be for children for whom any 'new regime' will have formed the smallest part of their school experience, and thus will probably benefit least from it.

Ofsted inspecting more often won't actually make any difference - ever heard the expression about not fattening a pig by weighing it? Ofsted inspections, especially for schools in difficulties, are hugely stressful, and very frequent inspections and threats of inspections make it much more likely that good heads and good teachers, especially in key shortage subjects like Maths and sciences will simply leave and go elsewhere where life is a little easier. This accelerates a downward spiral.

i thought it was a positive step a short while ago when it was announced that a new head appointed to a failing school would have 2 years before an inspection - time to actually make a difference (even then, probably not to headline results, but to progress within the school. Even that is a very short time - for the first children to go wholly through a new regime and thus get 'new regime results' takes 5 years, and it can take much, much longer than that to improve a school's reputation and thus change the intake.

Category 3 - RI - is not 'failing'. Category 4 is, and a school in category 4 will in fact have much more regular monitoring visits, though they will be lighter touch [and often by HMIs not contracted-out Ofsted inspectors, so are often supportive rather than purely judgemental].

Closing a school is a BIG deal, and only really happens in areas where there are falling rolls or very high levels of spare capacity (both actual and projected) to absorb all the children involved.

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