Talks to be held over school's rescue plan

Talks to be held over school's rescue plan

Talks to be held over school's rescue plan

First published in News
Last updated
by , Senior Reporter

ST HELENS Council education bosses are seeking urgent talks with the leaders of the failing Hope Academy after Ofsted deemed a rescue plan for the school was “not fit for purpose”.

The Star revealed last week how the £33m Hope, in Newton-le-Willows, which slid into special measures earlier this year had its improvement plan ripped to shreds by inspectors during a “monitoring visit”.

As an academy which was formed following the merger of Newton High and St Aelreds, Hope sits out of local education authority control.

But with the council responsible for the overall education of children in the borough, senior town hall figures will not hesitate from exerting influence if necessary.

The council was locked in talks with the academy’s sponsors following the initial Ofsted report, which was followed by the departure of principal John Gannon.

Asked about the watchdog’s latest findings, a council statement read: “The council shares Ofsted’s concerns and is working with the local school leadership to finalise their improvement plan.

“We’re also seeking an urgent meeting with the school’s three sponsors to ensure this happens quickly.

“This is a priority for the council in the interests of both current and future pupils.

“And even though the school is independent of local authority control, we will not hesitate to raise any concerns with Ofsted if we feel progress is stalling.”

Ofsted inspector Sally Kenyon had described the action plan as “too vague” and criticised sponsors including Hope University and the Catholic and Church of England Archdioceses of Liverpool.

A spokesman for the sponsors said the inspector’s comments were being taken 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.”

Dr David Dennison, the interim principal, is currently running the academy, though Paul Roach, current head at Mount St Joseph Business and Enterprise College in Bolton, has been handed the position, though his official start date is yet to be agreed.

The Department for Education was contacted for a response about Ofsted’s findings but did not reply by the time the Star went to press.

Comments (7)

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7:51pm Thu 10 Jul 14

papa mojo says...

the council have known about this for months before the press got hold of it especially Andy Dempsey and Carol Hudson who have been trying to shut the parents up for months
the council have known about this for months before the press got hold of it especially Andy Dempsey and Carol Hudson who have been trying to shut the parents up for months papa mojo
  • Score: 4

8:29am Fri 11 Jul 14

sunshineandshowers says...

The academy is outside council control that's the point of academies. The responsibility lies with the Sponsors. The council is not funded to support academies but gets the brickbats when things go wrong. Part of the grand plan to discredit local government
The academy is outside council control that's the point of academies. The responsibility lies with the Sponsors. The council is not funded to support academies but gets the brickbats when things go wrong. Part of the grand plan to discredit local government sunshineandshowers
  • Score: 2

9:02pm Fri 11 Jul 14

papa mojo says...

they still fund the children's places at the school don't they ???
they still fund the children's places at the school don't they ??? papa mojo
  • Score: -1

10:36am Sat 12 Jul 14

papa mojo says...

what about the duty of care for both the children and parents that attend hope and other failing schools in st Helens that rests on Andy Dempsey head as the director of education and as I said before he knew months ago and did nothing
what about the duty of care for both the children and parents that attend hope and other failing schools in st Helens that rests on Andy Dempsey head as the director of education and as I said before he knew months ago and did nothing papa mojo
  • Score: 2

9:23pm Wed 16 Jul 14

sunshineandshowers says...

Academy schools are state funded schools in England which are directly funded by central government (specifically, the Department for Education) and independent of direct control by the local authority.

Papa Mojo -
There is no statutory requirement for any formal relationship between local authorities (LAs) and academies beyond that which is required for the delivery of LA statutory duties, such as the making and reviewing of SEN statements, securing sufficient education in an area and provision of home-to-school transport for eligible children.

The LA however as you say has a moral responsibility so appears to be trying to exert whatever bit of authority it has left.
Academy schools are state funded schools in England which are directly funded by central government (specifically, the Department for Education) and independent of direct control by the local authority. Papa Mojo - There is no statutory requirement for any formal relationship between local authorities (LAs) and academies beyond that which is required for the delivery of LA statutory duties, such as the making and reviewing of SEN statements, securing sufficient education in an area and provision of home-to-school transport for eligible children. The LA however as you say has a moral responsibility so appears to be trying to exert whatever bit of authority it has left. sunshineandshowers
  • Score: 0

8:27am Thu 17 Jul 14

papa mojo says...

The formal relationship comes from the service level agreement which as you say is required for the delivery of LA statutory duties such as SEN and securing sufficient education. The council have known for over 12 months there was a problem in these specific areas but have used Hope Academy being funded by central government to ignore this. It is only now there is press interest there is a wringing of hands.
The formal relationship comes from the service level agreement which as you say is required for the delivery of LA statutory duties such as SEN and securing sufficient education. The council have known for over 12 months there was a problem in these specific areas but have used Hope Academy being funded by central government to ignore this. It is only now there is press interest there is a wringing of hands. papa mojo
  • Score: -1

9:11am Thu 17 Jul 14

Bill Bradbury says...

Sunshine has it right and this is the consequence of taking schools out of LA control and being privatised to remove"the control of the dead hand of local authorities" as the now defunct Mr. Gove wished.

Hope University and the Church authorities are the ones who are supposed to oversee the running of the school not the LA from whom these schools have been "filched". (by the PFI/BSF process-another thing I constantly objected to) No wonder the Chief Executive and Director are concerned and now are offering support as quite rightly irrespective of the rights and wrongs of the Academisation process egged on by Ofsted, the education of the pupils comes first.

As you may guess I am totally against all Academies and Free Schools the consequences will be seen many years from now, run by non elected and appointees responsible to the DfE which is currently being down sized. They appear to be a law unto themselves with what we read today in the National press a head in Kent increasing his salary to £134,000.

Sticking the word Academy after a school does not make it better but the quality of teaching and leadership is the most important driving factor.

No wonder Gove has been buried for a year until the Tories win the next election then all schools will be taken out of Local Authority control and funded centrally.
Sunshine has it right and this is the consequence of taking schools out of LA control and being privatised to remove"the control of the dead hand of local authorities" as the now defunct Mr. Gove wished. Hope University and the Church authorities are the ones who are supposed to oversee the running of the school not the LA from whom these schools have been "filched". (by the PFI/BSF process-another thing I constantly objected to) No wonder the Chief Executive and Director are concerned and now are offering support as quite rightly irrespective of the rights and wrongs of the Academisation process egged on by Ofsted, the education of the pupils comes first. As you may guess I am totally against all Academies and Free Schools the consequences will be seen many years from now, run by non elected and appointees responsible to the DfE which is currently being down sized. They appear to be a law unto themselves with what we read today in the National press a head in Kent increasing his salary to £134,000. Sticking the word Academy after a school does not make it better but the quality of teaching and leadership is the most important driving factor. No wonder Gove has been buried for a year until the Tories win the next election then all schools will be taken out of Local Authority control and funded centrally. Bill Bradbury
  • Score: 1

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