Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Second Free School in Region Dubbed a Failure

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Second Free School in Region Dubbed a Failure

Article excerpt

Byline: Ruth Lognonne Education Reporter

EDUCATION chiefs have put a second North East free school into special measures in 24 hours in a fresh blow to the government's flagship schools policy. Following their latest visit to Grindon Hall Christian School, in Sunderland, Ofsted inspectors said the school is inadequate and needs to urgently improve the quality and impact of leaders.

The news comes less than 24 hours after Education Secretary Nicky Morgan announced Durham Free School is to close following an equally damning Ofsted report.

Both schools have been heavily criticised by inspectors for failing to help students understand "British values" or "prepare them for life in modern Britain".

However, parents and staff at both schools have vehemently defended the institutions and accused Ofsted of getting it wrong.

Headteacher at Grindon Hall, Chris Gray, who recently made an official complaint to Ofsted about the "hostile" questioning of pupils, said the report lacks any sense of proportion.

He said: "The Ofsted report issued to us today will come as a huge shock to our parents, pupils and staff because they - along with anyone who knows us - will not recognise the school portrayed there.

"To issue a report that grades the best performing secondary statefunded school in Sunderland (latest published GCSE results) as the worst defies all common sense and logic.

"We take any criticism seriously and aspire to the highest standards for our pupils. We continually strive to be better, but this report, prompted by the new 'British Values' rules, lacks any sense of proportion."

More than 30 parents gathered at Durham Free School on Tuesday in a fight to keep their problem-hit school from closing. After a two-day visit in November, Ofsted inspectors rated the school, which is currently advertising for a new headteacher, inadequate in all areas. …

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