IslingtonTribune

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Highbury Grove branded ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted

Academy switch looming for school previously ranked 'outstanding'

06 February, 2017 — By Joe Cooper

Highbury Grove School

HIGHBURY Grove school has been branded ‘inadequate’ by education watchdog Ofsted – and will be forced to become an academy.

New government legislation says state schools judged to be ‘inadequate’ – the lowest of the four ratings – will be made subject to an academy order.

Former headteacher Tom Sherrington suddenly left the 1,200 pupil specialist music school just two weeks before the publication of the report, which can be viewed on the school’s website.

The school was judged to be ‘outstanding’ when it was last inspected in 2011.

However it was given the lowest rating across four areas – effectiveness of leadership and management; quality of teaching, learning and assessment; personal development, behaviour and welfare and outcome for pupils – over a two day inspection in mid-December. The sixth form was judged to be ‘Good’.

In the report, lead investigator Helen Matthews wrote: “Groups of pupils, including the most able, make far less progress from their starting points than pupils nationally.
“The quality of teaching across different subjects is highly variable. In a range of subjects, teachers have low expectations of pupils and the quality of work they produce. Consequently, outcomes in some subjects, including mathematics, are too low.”

She added that leaders have an “overgenerous view of the quality of education they are providing”.
Concerns about pupil behaviour, safety and poor attendance were also raised.

A letter from the school on Saturday said: “We know that you will share our disappointment at the result, however, the school has been working very hard in the past weeks to remediate the failings outlined in the report. Under the new Acting Headteacher, Aimee Lyall, the immediate priorities are to ensure that the school is running smoothly and that our focus is clearly on teaching and learning.”

A meeting for parents is taking place tonight at 6.30pm to allow them to ask questions of school leaders and Islington Council.

On the academisation of the school, the letter said: “At this point, the school has had no communication from the RSC [Regional Schools Commissioner], so we do not know anything about when this will happen and what a proposed timeline might be. Officials from the London Borough of Islington will be at the parents’ meeting on Monday to explain their understanding of how the process may work.”

Cllr Joe Caluori, executive member for children, young people and families, said: “We want every child in Islington to get the best possible education. We will continue to work closely with Highbury Grove School and provide the necessary support towards achieving this goal so that pupils, parents and staff can be confident in its future.”

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