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Sunday, 23 November 2014

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‘Not enough progress’ at Barrow school says Ofsted

AN EDUCATION watchdog has expressed concern about financial management and the impact of redundancies at a Barrow school, and says it found low staff morale during its latest monitoring visit.

The fourth monitoring inspection of Furness Academy in Barrow says the school “is not making enough progress towards the removal of special measures.”

Around 30 staff will leave the academy this summer through redundancies or moving on.

Ofsted found: “Staff morale is low,” and said: “The teachers feel their hard work is not being recognised. The large majority of staff who responded to the staff survey do not feel the school is well led and managed.

“Many staff expressed a wish for a permanent principal to bring stability for the next phase of improvements. Some senior leaders feel there is a lack of ethos and they need to win the ‘hearts and minds’ of staff, students and the local community. They are right.”

The report added: “There are concerns around the school’s financial management. Since the previous monitoring visit, governors have been alerted to a significant budget reduction for next year. Although some senior leaders knew about this some time ago, they did not inform governors in a timely manner.”

Inspectors say they and staff are “concerned about the impact of redundancies on the school’s capacity to improve.” Ofsted said this hits important roles in the pastoral team, which it said is being “stretched to capacity”, while “the large senior leadership team remains unaffected by the cuts”.

Inspectors say nearly £200,000 has been spent on alternative provision for 40 students this year – but the academy disputes this figure. The senior leaders are considering spending more than £100,000 for alternative provision on-site next year. But Ofsted said: “This potential cost cannot be justified and does not demonstrate good value for money,” but “very talented staff” already run alternative curriculum courses after school and “their talents are not being used to best effect.”

Inspectors said arrangements to keep students safe are “not good enough”.

Ofsted added: “Behaviour has deteriorated since the last visit,” and “exclusions have increased and are “twice the national average.”

But some “excellent behaviour” was seen in a number of lessons where students are “interested and engaged in
their learning.” Ofsted used a Year 11 dance group as a good example.

The watchdog says students rightly feel there are not enough rewards for those who consistently behave well, do their homework and treat teachers with respect. Social times were noted as continuing to be “well organised and supervised”.

While “achievement overall is set to rise for all students”, the gap is “too wide” between pupil premium students and their peers. Predictions for the 2014 GCSE exams show progress in English and maths will be broadly in line with national averages overall.

Inspectors feel the progress of students who are disabled or who have special educational needs is still weak.

The report added: “Teaching continues to improve,” but improvements are “unlikely to be sustained” in the short-term due to high staff turnover and a pastoral team reductions.

“Staff speak highly of new leadership and management of teaching and learning and special educational needs.”

Have your say

Interesting Caz.... Walney school is far from on the up! Really? That's not what OFSTED say! One thing to say if you're not happy take your children out! I am sure another school,dowdales, will welcome you. Or you could, instead of moaning, go into the school and support the teachers and become a governor! Or is it easier to sit and groan rather than help them improve!

Posted by Parent on 31 July 2014 at 17:04

Why are the sponsors so QUIET - Ann Attwood. World class - third world class.

Posted by SIMPLES on 14 July 2014 at 07:01

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