Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Troubled Academy Is First to Be Placed in Special Measures Twice: News

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Troubled Academy Is First to Be Placed in Special Measures Twice: News

Article excerpt

Ofsted found every area of provision inadequate at Carlisle school.

One of the government's flagship academies has become the first in the country to be placed in special measures for a second time after every area of its provision was judged inadequate by inspectors.

The Richard Rose Central Academy in Carlisle, Cumbria, was heavily criticised by Ofsted after an inspection in January and has been placed in special measures for the second time in a little over four years.

The news comes just a week after the Department for Education revealed it had sent "pre-warning" letters to 15 sponsored academies in the past two years as a result of concerns over their standards and performance.

It also follows revelations made in TES earlier this year that ministers are requesting detailed performance scorecards every six weeks from around 100 secondary academies that they deem to be in danger of falling below the GCSE floor target.

The plight of academies such as Richard Rose Central shows the scale of the challenge faced by the DfE in overseeing the performance of hundreds of schools from Whitehall.

According to the watchdog's report, achievement is poor, teaching is weak and pupil attendance is well below the national average. School governors were also singled out for criticism.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted's chief inspector, this week called for an overhaul of governance across the country, demanding better training and more paid roles for governors.

In a letter to the parents of pupils at Richard Rose Central, the sponsor and chair of governors, property magnate Brian Scowcroft, said that the governing body, while disappointed by the judgement, "fully accepted" Ofsted's findings and was working with officials within the DfE to help turn the academy around.

The academy's trust, the Richard Rose Federation, has now appointed Derek Davies executive principal to work across Richard Rose Central and its sister academy Richard Rose Morton, Mr Scowcroft said.

Ofsted's verdict on the Cumbrian academy is the latest in a long line of misfortunes for the troubled school, which has been beset by problems since it opened in 2008.

It was created by the merger of two others, St Aidan's and North Cumbria Technology College, and became the first state school in the country to be led by someone with no classroom experience.

Peter Noble was appointed chief executive of the Richard Rose Federation in 2008 after a career as a health service manager but was forced out less than two terms later when Richard Rose Central was placed in special measures for the first time. …

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