The Great Yarmouth Charter Academy, which won notoriety when it opened in September 2017 for saying sick pupils should vomit in a bucket, has lost 194 special needs (SEND) pupils in a year, a Times investigation found.
Inspiration Trust, the multi-academy trust linked to schools minister Lord Agnew, took over Great Yarmouth VA School in September 2017 and renamed it Great Yarmouth Charter Academy. In July 2018, the academy ‘closed’ after merging with an Inspiration-run secondary free school, Trafalgar College, also in Yarmouth.
The amalgamated school re-opened on Charter’s site and was renamed, er, Great Yarmouth Charter Academy. There was, however, a significant difference: the sponsored academy had become a free school.
Data for the ‘closed’ Charter Academy shows 2.1% of its pupils had a statement of special educational needs or an education, health and care plan in 2017/18. The national average for that year was 4.4%. 4% were eligible for SEN support against a national average of 10.4%.
The proportion of SEND pupils at the newly-opened (or should that be newly-reopened?) Charter Academy is not yet known. Bizarrely, GIAS says the academy has just 118 pupils. The ‘closed’ Charter Academy had 681. Official figures appear to suggest that Charter Academy’s roll has dropped by 563. Nonsense, of course.
The Times analysis also showed that the proportion of pupils with additional needs ‘fell by 55%’ across all of Inspiration’s seven secondary academies from January 2017 and January 2018. ‘The average drop among all schools over the same period was 2%,’ the Times wrote.
James Goffin, Inspiration’s head of external affairs, denied the trust had excluded SEND children. He said the trust had taken over ‘a number of failing schools which had caused significant fluctuation in the number of children with SEN.’
FOOTNOTE: James Goffin has commented under our article about Great Yarmouth Primary Academy being judged inadequate. Read it here. Scroll down.