Academy given warning over ‘unacceptably low’ performance

Littlehampton Academy SUS-150812-164422001
Littlehampton Academy SUS-150812-164422001

The Department for Education has issued a warning notice to an academy whose pupil performance was ruled to be unacceptably low.

The notice from regional schools commissioner Dominic Herrington, gave the Woodard Academies Trust until February 1 to ensure the quality of teaching at The Littlehampton Academy improved “significantly and rapidly”

Mr Herrington originally wrote a pre-warning notice to directors at the Trust in October 2014, setting out his concerns and calling for them to be remedied.

He advised that, if improvements were not made, Nicky Morgan, the secretary of state for education, would be entitled to appoint additional directors of her choice to the Trust to bring the academy up to scratch.

In his latest letter he stated: “Having considered this matter carefully, the secretary of state and I are satisfied that the unacceptably low standards of performance have not been remedied.”

Mr Herrington also raised concerns about the performance of pupils at the Sir Robert Woodard Academy, in Lancing – which is also sponsored by the Trust – and did not rule out the possibility of issuing a warning notice for that academy as well.

Since 2012, pupils at Littlehampton achieved results significantly below the national and county average when it came to GCSEs.

In 2012, only 51 per cent earned five A*-C grades, including English and maths.

That fell to 42 per cent in 2013 and 36 per cent in 2014. The figure rose back to 42 per cent in 2015 – but that was still well below the 52.8 per cent national and 59.4 per cent county averages.

At Sir Robert Woodard’s, the figures were 51 per cent in 2012, 56 per cent in 2013, 42 per cent in 2014 and 45 per cent in 2015.

In addition to the quality of teaching, the Trust was also required to take steps to ensure Littlehampton Academy was judged at least ‘good’ at its next Ofsted inspection.

The academy was placed in special measures in 2013 and, following a monitoring visit in July, was seen to be making “reasonable progress” towards being removed from such.

Mr Herrington also called on the Trust to provide “robust evidence” that the pupils’ progress in English and maths would improve on the 2015 levels and would be at least in line with expected national levels of progress.

As well as the Littlehampton Academy and Sir Robert Woodard Academy, the Woodard Academies Trust sponsors three other academies.

One of them – St Peter’s Academy, in Stoke-on-Trent – was placed in special measures following an inspection in January.

The others – St Augustine Academy, in Kent, and Kings Priory School, in Tynemouth, were rated ‘good’ by Ofsted, with St Augustine’s improving since its previous inspection.

Sir Robert Woodard’s was in special measures until October 2013 when it shook off its ‘inadequate’ rating and was judged ‘requires improvement’.

The Woodard Academies Trust has been approached for comment.

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