Salford School Celebrates Victory Against Forced Academisation

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Local High School Earns ‘Good’ Rating, Escapes Academy Status

A school in Salford is rejoicing after escaping the threat of enforced academisation. The school had been under a Directive Academy Order following a 2016 Ofsted inspection that rated it as ‘requires improvement,’ putting it at risk of being turned into an academy.

However, a recent inspection has graded the school as ‘good,’ leading to the revocation of the academy order. This development has been welcomed by local leaders and the school community, who had argued against academisation, stating it was not in the best interests of the pupils.

The headteacher, who has faced eight Ofsted inspections during his tenure, admitted that the prolonged scrutiny had taken a significant toll on his physical and mental well-being. He had considered resigning amidst the high-pressure environment, which he described as creating a ‘climate of fear.’ Despite these challenges, he persevered, and in April, a new inspection rated the school’s overall effectiveness, quality of education, pupil behaviour and attitudes, and leadership and management as ‘good.’ Additionally, the ‘personal development’ of students was deemed ‘outstanding.’

Inspection Report Highlights

The inspection report highlighted several positive aspects of the school, stating that pupils feel valued, cared for, and happy. The report noted that pupils spoke warmly of their positive relationships with staff and felt that they mattered to their teachers.

The report further mentioned that both pupils and staff are proud of the school’s recent improvements. The school sets high expectations for all pupils, including those with special educational needs and disabilities. Pupils are developing their knowledge well over time and receive appropriate help and support because staff understand and recognise their individual needs.

Headteacher’s Response

Commenting on the recent developments, the headteacher emphasised the invaluable support provided by the local council in challenging the academisation order. He highlighted the importance of strong ties between schools and local authorities.

He expressed gratitude towards the school community, stating that he feels proud of the staff, pupils, and families associated with the school. He reiterated the school’s mission of ‘Love, Learn, Lead’ and its commitment to serving the community by providing inclusive excellence.

The headteacher also noted that the collective efforts of the staff over several years had secured the improvements that the students deserved. He expressed relief that Ofsted had recognised the school’s achievements, which the council, the Diocese, and the families had long believed to be true.

He asserted that the school’s success demonstrates that improvement can be achieved without the intervention of an academy trust. He indicated that the school’s leaders are eager to share their experiences with other schools at the right time.

Local Leaders and Community Support

Local leaders praised the dedication and hard work of everyone involved at the school. They highlighted the commitment and work ethic of the teachers, pupils, families, parents, carers, trade unions, and governors, as well as the support from the Roman Catholic Diocese and the wider community.

They emphasised that the recent Ofsted report, which rated the school as ‘good’ and ‘outstanding,’ demonstrates a pattern of continuous and rapid improvement. They argued that forced academisation should not be the default solution for schools that ‘require improvement.’

Local leaders stressed the importance of providing tailored support to struggling schools and advocated for a collaborative approach involving local authorities and communities, rather than resorting to academisation.

Calls for Policy Change

A former primary school headteacher and ex-national president of a teachers’ union echoed these sentiments, describing the news as fantastic. She called for the Department for Education to revoke all ‘forced academy’ legislation and to fund local school improvement, advice, and development structures, so schools can access local support rather than relying on distant, unelected, undemocratic academy trusts.

The success of this Salford school in overcoming the threat of forced academisation and achieving a ‘good’ rating serves as a powerful example of what can be accomplished through local support and dedicated leadership. The school now looks forward to continuing its mission of providing high-quality education to its students without the looming threat of academisation. As other schools in similar situations observe this development, it may encourage a broader discussion on the efficacy and necessity of the forced academisation policy, potentially leading to significant changes in the approach to school improvement across the UK.

Lauren Redford
Lauren Redford
Journalist Lauren Redford is a seasoned business journalist who focuses on regional areas throughout the United Kingdom. With her expertise and dedication, Lauren brings insightful coverage of local communities and their economic landscapes. With a meticulous approach and a passion for storytelling, she uncovers stories that resonate with readers and offers a deeper understanding of the business world. Lauren's commitment to delivering accurate and engaging news makes her a valuable member of the News Write Ups team.

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