Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Minister Stepped in over Failings at School

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Minister Stepped in over Failings at School

Article excerpt

Byline: Exclusive by Sarah Dale

A DECISION to intervene to tackle serious failings at a Middlesbrough school was taken by a senior Government minister, it can be revealed today.

Schools minister David Laws stepped in after Oakfields Community College was put in "special measures" by Ofsted inspectors and concerns were raised about its sponsor, Endeavour Academies Trust.

Emails and letters written by Department for Education officials obtained by the Gazette under Freedom of Information laws, detail the discussions in Whitehall over the drastic action needed over the future of the Acklam school.

In May it emerged the Government had brought in a new Some school must still do Latest verdict from organisation Outwood Grange Academies Trust to turn around the school. NEW SPONSOR: Outwood Grange led by Michael Wilkins, above, has been brought in to run Oakfields how Oakfields had been due to become an academy in March but the switch was delayed until September after the sudden replacement of local sponsor Endeavour Academies Trust - made up of Macmillan Academy, Middlesbrough College and Teesside University - with Outwood.

Major changes have been introduced including replacing the school's headteacher Michael Hutton, changing the school's name and introducing a new uniform and tough discipline policy.

Serious concerns were raised after Oakfields, which went into special measures in December 2011, received an Ofsted progress inspection in February last year.

The Government has largely refused to go into detail over why it intervened.

But the letters show concern over a lack of progress in turning the school around.

In March this year, the DfE wrote to Middlesbrough Council saying: "The recent Ofsted finding that the school was judged to be making inadequate progress, combined with the downward trajectory results at Macmillan Academy, presented the minister with concerns about the viability of the solution. …

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