‘Morale is not dented’ - Outstanding Gorleston school became inadequate after academy conversion, inspectors rule

Lynn Grove High School, Gorleston.

Lynn Grove High School, Gorleston. - Credit: Nick Butcher

A Norfolk school's standards dropped from outstanding to inadequate after it became an academy, Ofsted has ruled.

Lynn Grove High School, Gorleston.

Lynn Grove High School, Gorleston. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Lynn Grove High School in Gorleston was inspected on December 4 and 5 last year and inspectors found it had 'serious weaknesses'.

It is the first convertor academy in the county to be judged inadequate.

A convertor academy is a successful school that opted to become an academy to benefit from increased autonomy.

A report published this week stated much of the teaching required improvement, attainment had declined and pupils who were falling behind with work did not receive enough help to catch up.

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Lead inspector Caroline Pardy said the achievement of students receiving the pupil premium was inadequate, pupils' work was not always marked and staff did not always tell pupils about their learning targets.

But she noted that headteacher Alison Mobbs was working to make improvements, and new systems had already reduced the number of exclusions, improved attendance and boosted achievement in work-related subjects.

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Ms Mobbs blamed the Ofsted report on recent GCSE students' results, of which a 'significant group... did not do as well as hoped'.

But she stressed that morale 'is not dented' and vowed to quickly address the issues – with many changes already in place.

'The outcome of our inspection is deeply disappointing,' she said. 'We think this is an inevitable consequence of our most recent GCSE results, when a significant group of students did not do as well as we hoped, and the fact that some of our pupils eligible for the pupil premium funding didn't achieve the necessary targets.'

She said inspectors' criticisms had helped identify areas for improvement, with teachers working together to ensure 'lessons meet the needs of every student'.

She added that the leadership team was doing all it could, and noted that inspectors praised pupils' behaviour and the 'extensive' extracurricular activities on offer.

The opinions of parents were split.

Carla Weston said she felt standards had dropped and it was harsh for Ms Mobbs to 'point the finger of blame' at some of the children.

But Tracy Mannall, who has two daughters at the school, said she had nothing but praise for staff.

She wrote: 'Academically my children are doing excellently and when needed the pastoral care has been fantastic.

'I think the [Ofsted] report is grossly unfair.'

Lynn Grove had been judged as outstanding in October 2010, then became an academy in October 2011.

The school took nearby Woodlands Primary School in Bradwell under its wing in 2013 as its sponsor.

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