No need for this village school to become an academy: support from LA and LLE is making effective impact. Leave it alone.

Janet Downs's picture
In January 2013, Ryhall CofE Primary School, Rutland, was judged Inadequate. The head left, the deputy head became Acting Headteacher and an Interim Executive Board (IEB) replaced the governing body.

Ofsted has made three monitoring visits. The last, which took place at the end of January, found the school appears to have turned the corner. Inspectors said the head was an effective leader and “well respected by staff, parents and carers, and pupils”. Pupils were making better progress and growing in confidence in reading, writing and maths. The quality of teaching continued to improve. There were still blips: staff did not always model the high standard of handwriting expected in the school’s new handwriting policy and pupils’ behaviour wasn’t tracked over time, for example.

This is a vast improvement on the damning verdict of a year ago. And it’s been supported throughout by the local authority (LA) and the Local Leader of Education (LLE), Ofsted found. The IEB had challenged the school and held leaders to account.

But an air of uncertainty hangs over the school. Ofsted reported the school “appears likely to make the transition to academy status” but this was being delayed by weak communication between the IEB, the LA, the diocese and the Department for Education (DfE). Ofsted says this indecision is causing anxiety and is delaying the constitution of a new governing body and the appointment of a permanent head.

This anxiety could be dispelled at once if the threat of academy conversion is removed. The school has improved significantly with the help of the LA and the LLE. The IEB should do what it’s legally expected to do: enable the restoration of a normal governing body. And then leave.

Ryhall CofE Primary School doesn’t need an external sponsor – it’s already got the support it needs.


Pupils from Ryhall school helped a local author to produce a book about a former Rutlander who founded a religious movement. The book was written and illustrated with help from pupils (see here). The Spring Term newsletter is here.

NOTE: Ofsted reports can be downloaded here.
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Brian's picture
Fri, 14/03/2014 - 17:16

I suspect that 'leave it alone' won't win the day despite good LA and LLE support. There are two big players in this picture with their own agendas. The DfE, of course, would like to see LAs out of the picture altogether. The diocese will simply follow the church line which is to secure academy status for as many church schools as possible so there is a critical mass (no pun intended), a tipping point at which non-Church schools start to look to the church for the support and services previously offers by the LA. There can be no other explanation for the current expansion of Dioscesan education teams to include School Improvement Advisers and Education Officers appointed to develop the range of services on offer to schools.

Chris Manners's picture
Mon, 17/03/2014 - 17:42

Good point about the "left wing Church of England".

Amazing, it throws its wait behind from privatisation of education, and no-one says a dicky bird. Deplore poverty, and all hell breaks loose.

Janet Downs's picture
Tue, 16/09/2014 - 07:31

UPDATE 16 September. Ryhall School has now had a full Ofsted inspection. It has improved from Special Measures to Good thanks in part to the work of the acting head, support from the local authority and the improvement partner.

However, it won't stop academy conversion. The wheels trundle on - Ryhall School is set to become an academy this term despite improving without the silver bullet of academy conversion.

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