The Derby Telegraph, which has been at the forefront of reporting into the issues and developments at the Al-Medinah School in Derby, has published the letter from schools minister Lord Nash to Barry Day, the chairman of the new trust board…
Al-Madinah – next steps
Firstly, I want to thank you and the other new Members of the Al-Madinah Trust for committing your time to the task of turning this school around. I have no doubt that the skills you each bring will be invaluable in ensuring the children at Al-Madinah school get the high quality education they deserve.
It is clear that there is a great deal of work to do at the school. The feedback I have received from my officials, as well as the findings of Ofsted’s reports, make plain the scale of the challenge facing the Trust. I am particularly concerned at the poor quality of secondary teaching and the lack of breadth in the secondary curriculum. I have come to the conclusion that it would simply not be in the interests of parents or pupils at the secondary school to continue to fund provision which has failed them in the manner now apparent. I have decided it would be in the best interests of those children in the secondary school to continue their education elsewhere from this September onwards.
However, I am confident that the new members of the Trust can use their experience and expertise to ensure the school delivers a high quality primary education. Therefore I will require the Trust to amend its Funding Agreement through a variation to clause 17 limiting the age range of the school from 4 to 11 and reducing the planned capacity from 1020 to an appropriate level of places at primary level. I will also require the governing body to work with the local authority to ensure pupils currently in the secondary school are supported to find suitable places in other schools before the start of the 2014/15 academic year.
As per my letter of 22 November to the Trust, I still wish to see the vision of an all-through faith school realised, but I will only agree to this when the Trust can demonstrate that the provision of primary education is of high quality.
I appreciate that this will be a disappointing decision, particularly for those parents with pupils in the secondary school. I believe that acting now will ensure their children receive a much better standard of education than would otherwise have been the case.
The Department will continue to provide support to the new Trust Board over the coming months. I would like you to discuss with my officials how the reconstituted Trust should report. I would also like to meet with you personally once a quarter to discuss progress.
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