‘Inadequate’ school to become academy

Kirkhamgate Primary is in special measures and is converting to an academy in a bid to improve. Headteacher Robert Waft helps Spencer Peck and Charlotte Dixon with their work. (W532C304)

Kirkhamgate Primary is in special measures and is converting to an academy in a bid to improve. Headteacher Robert Waft helps Spencer Peck and Charlotte Dixon with their work. (W532C304)

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A school that was deemed inadequate by Ofsted inspectors is to become an academy.

Kirkhamgate Primary School was placed into special measures following an inspection in December 2011 when inspectors said the school was ‘failing to give its pupil an acceptable standard of education.’

Headteacher Robert Waft said that becoming part of the Outwood Grange Academy Trust (OGAT) will help give the school a bright future.

He said: “We hope to rebuild the reputation that the school had before things slid a bit.”

The school was judged to be good by Ofsted inspectors in 2009, but the report published in 2011 said: “At the time of the last inspection pupils’ progress was judged to be good and their attainment above average. Since then attainment has declined and is now low overall, particularly in maths.”

The report said the quality of teaching was inadequate and that the curriculum did not meet pupils’ needs. Inspectors also blamed ‘complex staffing issues.’

Monitoring inspections carried out in April and September last year said the school was making inadequate progress since going into special measures, but noted improvements in teaching and test results, and as in previous reports, they described pupils as ‘willing learners’ who enjoy school and are happy. Mr Waft, who has been at the school for three years, said: “A major feature of us going into special measures was that we had lots of new staff at the time, and many of them were young and were not going out to see work that was going on in other schools, which is good practice. We were also working with a budget deficit, which isn’t easy.

“We thought parents would take their children out in droves, but they have been very supportive on the whole.

“I cannot praise my staff highly enough because they didn’t abandon ship when we went into special measures either, they have remained committed.”

The OGAT will be responsible for the performance of the new academy.

Academies are publicly funded independent schools, which are free from local authority control. They can set their own pay and conditions for staff, change the curriculum and even change the length of their terms and school days.