'Inadequate' primary school could close if improvements are not made
PUBLISHED: 14:35 15 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:43 15 March 2019
A Norfolk primary school plunged into special measures by Ofsted could be closed if rapid improvements are not made.
The Inspiration Trust has been served a “minded to terminate” notice in regard to Great Yarmouth Primary Academy, which was handed Ofsted’s lowest ranking following an inspection in November.
Inspectors uncovered a litany of failures including poor pupil behaviour and academic progress, a lack of support for children with special needs and ineffective teaching.
Dame Rachel de Souza, chief executive of the Norwich-based Inspiration Trust, labelled the report “simply wrong”, saying Ofsted had made mistakes in its inspection and accusing inspectors of having a negative approach.
Ofsted responded to the criticisms by saying it did not take the decision to place a school into special measures lightly, but that pupils’ behaviour and attainment at Great Yarmouth Primary Academy were “simply not good enough”.
The “minded to terminate” notice, signed by Sue Baldwin, regional schools commissioner (RSC) for the East of England and North East London, requires leaders at the school and the trust to compile a post-inspection action plan and demonstrate what is being done to improve the school.
Should the RSC not be satisfied that the trust can bring about the necessary improvements, she could take the decision to close the school or re-broker its funding arrangements.
A Department for Education spokesman stressed that “minded to terminate” notices were standard procedure for schools placed into special measures and that a decision on the fate of the school, should evidence of improvements not be forthcoming, would reside with the RSC.
Inspiration Trust spokesman James Goffin said: “This is a technical response to Ofsted’s judgement and was to be expected following the publication of the inspection report. We continue to pursue our complaint about the poor conduct of the inspection and the confused and inaccurate report through Ofsted’s internal processes.
“We have already invited the regional schools commissioner’s team to visit and see the reality on the ground for themselves. We are confident they will recognise the positive progress being made for pupils at the school, building on our improved key stage one and two results in 2018.”
A Department for Education spokesman said it was working with the Inspiration Trust “to explore the best possible options for the future of the school”.