Gove favourite Cuckoo Hall worst-performing school in Enfield for progress in reading and maths
Cuckoo Hall, Enfield, was one of former Education Secretary Michael Gove’s favourite primary schools. The headteacher, Patricia Sowter, was one of his ‘Magnificent Seven’ and ‘Crusaders for Social Justice’. She was awarded a CBE for services to local and national education.
The reputation of Cuckoo Hall took a knock in 2013 when SAT results plummeted. Sowter blamed the staff. Inspectors returned and downgraded Cuckoo Hall from Outstanding to Good.
It was during this inspection that anomalies were discovered which eventually led to Cuckoo Hall Academy Trust (CHAT) being served with a Financial Notice to Improve.
CHAT is now a small multi-academy trust which runs four free schools in addition to lead academy Cuckoo Hall. The free schools, three primaries and one secondary, are all judged good or better. None has yet been operating long enough to enter pupils for SATs or GCSEs. SAT results for Cuckoo Hall in 2016 are, however, not encouraging. Cuckoo Hall pupils were well-below the national average for progress in reading and maths. Cuckoo Hall is the worst-performing mainstream primary school in Enfield for progress in these two subjects. Results in writing were a little better – pupils scored below the national average.
The poor performance of Cuckoo Hall will again raise questions about standards in the academy. Results aren’t everything, of course, and there have been calls to scrap SAT results for 2016 because of possible unreliability. But the Government has not done so. Unless the 2016 SATs are declared null and void, then the once highly-praised Cuckoo Hall is at the bottom of Enfield’s league table for primary schools for the second time - once for overall results and once for progress.