Corby school judged as inadequate as inspectors say pupils have been ‘let down’

Lodge Park Academy has been told it is inadequate by inspectors who described seeing pupils jumping on one another during their inspection.

By Kate Cronin
Monday, 4th March 2019, 7:47 pm
Updated Monday, 4th March 2019, 7:50 pm
Lodge Park
Lodge Park

The school’s Ofsted report is due to be published online tomorrow but this newspaper has seen a copy of the report that is highly critical of both the David Ross Educational Trust - which manages the school - and of teaching staff.

Parents received a copy of the report today.

Ofsted have ordered two external reviews into goings on at the school: the first into governance and the second into how the school’s pupil premium is used. The school has also been told not to appoint any newly qualified teachers (NQTs).

While at the school - Corby’s oldest existing school - inspectors saw pupils jumping on other students and pushing them into people, including one adult.

The report, which said the Shetland Way school was inadequate in four out of five areas, says that teaching is poor and that parents are concerned about many aspects of the school. It adds that there are too many supply teachers delivering ‘poor’ lessons and that the school’s 895 pupils consequently show little interest in learning.

It states: “Trustees have let down successive cohorts of pupils by failing to secure permanent, effective leadership for the school, or to improve the quality of teaching.

“Leaders have not acted swiftly enough to halt the steady decline in pupils’ outcomes. Current pupils continue to underachieve.

“The school has had three principals in the last year.“Changes to leadership have been confusing for staff, parents and carers and pupils and have stalled the school’s progress.

“Since the previous inspection, the quality of teaching has declined. It is now inadequate because too many lessons are covered by temporary teachers and because leaders have not supported teachers well enough to improve their practice. Poor teaching is contributing to pupils’ negative attitudes and underachievement.”

Inspectors visited in mid-January and it has taken an unusually long amount of time for their report to be published. Documents are normally online within two weeks of the conclusion of the inspection.

The report is also critical of how pupil premium is spent. This is extra money given to the school to help each disadvantaged pupil progress.

It states: “Trustees have not ensured that the additional funding provided to support disadvantaged pupils, those with SEND or those who join the school with low attainment in English and mathematics has been spent effectively.”

“The curriculum does not lead to pupils achieving well in GCSE examinations. Pupils do not follow a broad curriculum.

“Trustees have failed, over successive years, to improve the quality of leadership and teaching. Trustees do not hold leaders to account well enough.”

Inspectors said that there are too many supply teachers and that these teachers provide ‘poor’ teaching. They added that too many lessons are disrupted by poor behaviour.

They say that pupils, particularly boys, show little interest in their learning. Inspectors also witnessed pupils showing a lack of respect and rudeness.

Behaviour was judged to be inadequate. The report said lessons were frequently disrupted, adding: “Poor behaviour includes both persistent low-level and, at times, wilful disruption.

“During social times, many pupils engage in boisterous behaviour indoors that some other pupils find intimidating.

“For example, inspectors saw pupils jumping on their peers and pushing pupils into others, including an adult, in the canteen. Pupils say this is common.”

The report also says that pupils underachieved in all areas that had large exam entries and that progress was very low in English, maths, science and humanities.

The school’s sixth form was judged to require improvement, with inspectors praising the number of children who progressed on from year 13 to university.

In response to the damning report, new executive principal Robert Sloan, who was officially appointed last month after the departure of Meena Wood, said: “Our priority is to make rapid and sustained improvements so our students achieve the best possible outcomes.

“We want every child at our school to have a great education and it starts with improving the quality of teaching and student behaviour at Lodge Park Academy.

“With the support of our parents, students and colleagues we have the right plan to make ours a school that we can all be proud of.”

A statement from the David Ross Educational Trust said: “We take the findings from Ofsted’s recent inspection and our responsibilities to our students and our local community very seriously.

“Recognising the school’s challenges, we brought in one of our experienced academy transformation leaders in October, who is now our school’s Executive Principal, to introduce new strategies to tackle many of the issues Ofsted has noted.

“Under his leadership, and with the full support of our Trust, we are absolutely committed to improving outcomes at Lodge Park Academy by improving the quality of teaching and raising student behaviour standards.