The education trust running the troubled Sir John Gleed School in Spalding has axed the entire governing body.
The CfBT Schools Trust, which was itself criticised in the latest Ofsted monitoring inspection, handed letters to governors on Thursday night telling them they were being replaced by “a rapid improvement board”.
Leaders, the governing body and the CfBT Schools Trust have not made sure that the academy is well placed to be removed from serious weaknesses.Ofsted
CfBT chief executive Chris Tweedale explained in the letter to governors the hand-picked board will have “executive powers to focus on accelerating and then maintaining rapid improvements to the quality of teaching and learning at the school”.
Gleed school hauled itself out of special measures – effectively a warning from Ofsted, the education inspectorate, to improve or close – and an Ofsted inspection in March saw the school’s overall effectiveness judged “inadequate”.
Achievement of pupils was also ruled inadequate at that time while four areas required improvement, leadership and management, behaviour and safety of pupils, quality of teaching and sixth form provision.
In September, head teacher Will Scott told us that his school had turned a corner and said: “I genuinely feel the darkest days are over.”
But the latest monitoring report from Ofsted published this month makes it clear the school isn’t doing enough to improve.
It says: “Leaders, the governing body and the CfBT Schools Trust have not made sure that the academy is well placed to be removed from serious weaknesses.”
Main judgements in the monitoring inspection are:
• Leaders and managers are not taking effective action towards the removal of the serious weaknesses designation
• The academy’s improvement planning is not fit for purpose
• The CfBT Schools Trust statement of action is not fit for purpose
We contacted the school and CfBT for statements following the step to axe the governors and an unconfirmed report of cost-cutting measures – the school responded, but so far there’s been no comment from CfBT.
The school’s statement says: “CST (CfBT) has replaced the governing body with a rapid improvement board to help accelerate and maintain the rapid improvement of teaching and learning at the school.
“There are no cash problems – the budget has been approved by the Trust and we are operating within the budget.
“The school is on a journey and everyone is working incredibly hard to ensure the best possible outcome of students.”
A source close to the school, who asked not to be named, said Gleed governors had previously asked about leaving CfBT – and were told by CfBT they couldn’t drop out.
“They didn’t want to lose us because they have already lost two schools,” he said.
The man said governors were upset to be handed impersonal letters, starting with “Dear Governor” rather than their names, when some had served for many years – the longest being 28 years.
He believes the present day problems at the school stem from the merger in 2011 of Gleed Boys’ School and Gleed Girls’ School and the addition of a sixth form centre.
According to the school website, Gleed had 11 governors – including Mr Scott and two teaching governors – and one parent governor.
In his letter to governors, Mr Tweedale said “two parents of current pupils with relevant skills” will be invited to join the new rapid improvement board.