Another converter academy, Caistor Yarborough Academy in Lincolnshire, has been failed by Ofsted
. Inspectors had previously judged the school to be good with outstanding features in April 2007
and found that this performance had been sustained in July 2010
Ofsted judged the school inadequate overall despite finding no inadequate teaching. “Teachers generally plan well-structured lessons,” Ofsted discovered, and there was “some good and occasionally outstanding teaching” which resulted in pupils continuing to make satisfactory progress, “with the fastest progress being made by lower-attaining students and those with special educational needs (SEN).” Ofsted praised the academy’s support for disabled and SEN pupils – “these students make good progress and achieve well.”
However, Ofsted judged the behaviour to be inadequate. Inspectors cited low level disruption in lessons but found that pupils behaved well around the academy.
Although academy conversion can be no cast-iron guarantee of success
, the school is filing a complaint with Ofsted
citing 49 concerns about the inspection. It is right to be worried. Statutory responsibility for intervention in failing academies rests with the Secretary of State and he could require any academy failed by Ofsted to bring in a sponsor. This would be easier to achieve with an academy than with a local authority school. The required consultation has already taken place and the legal process has been completed. A converter academy failed by Ofsted is ripe for sponsorship by one of an increasing number of academy chains.
Governing bodies who lobbied so hard for their schools to become academies may now find that they are dismissed and an interim body set up in their place. Instead of a local authority using its resources to help schools failed by Ofsted, converter academies will find that the responsibility for improvement lies with the Department for Education. This may cause governing bodies still considering conversion to pause while governing bodies in already-converted academies may begin to dread a visit by Ofsted.
“They create a prison and call it freedom