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Inspectors condemn lack of progress at Hope Academy
A SCHOOL which was placed under special measures after an Ofsted report found numerous inadequacies has now been told that their improvement plan “is not fit for purpose”.
Ofsted inspectors returned to Hope Academy in Newton-le-Willows in June to see if plans had been put in place to encourage improvement.
Former principal John Gannon stepped down after the earlier report.
Following the visit, inspector Sally Kenyon wrote to the interim principal Dr David Dennison stating: “The sponsors’ statement of action and the school’s improvement plan are too vague. Sponsors have not provided governors with a clear picture of what reasonable progress would look like over the next 18 months.”
The school’s sponsors include Liverpool Hope University, the Catholic and Church of England Archdiocese of Liverpool.
“Consequently,” added Sally Kenyon, “Governors cannot tell senior leaders whether the progress is enough.”
While she said governors are now aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the school, they and senior leaders have moved to inform parents of improvements as they happen.
She continued: “Sponsors have not told governors what evidence of progress they expect to see.”
She said that one of the areas for improvement was for teachers to receive clear feedback about how to improve their teaching.
However sponsors have not asked to see examples from people who observed lessons or what form the information would take.
“This lack of clarity is unhelpful to senior leaders and governors,” she said. “It is not clear from the statement of action or the school’s improvement plan who is responsible for what.
“Plenty of teachers have been held to account for poor performance but the same cannot be said for the senior leadership team.”
In further condemnation she said that targets for students’ achievements are “insufficiently challenging” and no progress targets had been agreed for Key Stage 3 pupils.
Following the monitoring inspection she concluded that both the sponsor’s statement of action and the school’s improvement plan are “not fit for purpose”.
A spokesman from Liverpool Archdiocese responded: "Hope Academy Sponsors are committed to creating the highest possible standards for the school and take the Ofsted inspector’s comment very seriously. We will review our statement of action and inspection plan accordingly.
"We are determined to support the governors and senior management in driving standards upwards by providing clear, challenging targets and robust feedback.
"The inspection report did show many examples of improvement at Hope Academy. In particular, we were pleased that Ofsted commented 'Sponsors have responded swiftly to address some of the key weaknesses in leadership and management'. We believe that we can provide a strong platform to develop the school alongside pupils, parents, staff and governors”
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