Ofsted inspectors rate two more free schools as inadequate

The Guardian is reporting that two new free schools have been classed as inadequate by Ofsted inspectors who highlighted flaws in the quality of teaching and learning as well as failings in the schools’ leadership and pupil behaviour…

The Ofsted reports for Robert Owen Academy, a secondary school in Hereford and St Anthony’s primary school in Gloucestershire came as the education secretary, Nicky Morgan, told a conference in London: “The soft bigotry of low expectation has no place in today’s schooling.”

The latest rulings mean Ofsted has rated a quarter of the 93 mainstream free schools inspected so far as inadequate or requiring improvement, with five currently deemed inadequate…

The DfE’s embarrassment was tempered by results from a third free school, Marine Academy primary in Plymouth, which was rated as outstanding in all areas. So far 26 mainstream free schools have been classed as outstanding, and 23 requiring improvement or inadequate…

Ofsted’s inspectors were particularly critical of discipline and pupil safety seen at Robert Owen Academy, which has 49 pupils and opened in September 2013…

Oftsed inspectors were also critical of St Anthony’s in Cinderford, placing the school into special measures and recommending that it be barred from appointing newly qualified teachers…

In contrast, inspectors rated the Marine Academy in Plymouth, which also opened in 2013, as outstanding across the board…

More at: Ofsted inspectors rate two more free schools as inadequate

 

It will be interesting to see what happens at the schools rated as inadequate, but is there any great significance to these latest free school ratings?

Aren’t we at the stage now where some schools of all types are going to get each of the available ratings and, likewise, there is probably less and less likelihood of any great difference in the proportions overall?

 

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Comments

  1. Once again, the evidence was available before the Free School programme and is illustrated by it:
    Changing the organisation or ownership of a school has little effect – it’s what the teachers do which matters.
    If a Free School uses evidence-based policies and teaching methods (whether they know they are EB or not!), results will improve.
    However, some schools are started by people who implement ideas about education which are fad, tradition, hunch, well-meaning-but-ineffective, politically correct, based one person’s ideas etc etc.
    We stopped doing medicine this way in about 1840.

  2. According to Cameron, Free Schools were supposed to be shock troops which would smash complacency.  Over-hyped, of course.  But it’s increasingly becoming apparent that free schools as a group are no better and no worse than other schools.
    Other free schools judged Inadequate (expect IES which is run by for-profit Swedish firm IES) have changed trusts or been closed.

  3. Nicky4Kids

    Excuse me for being ignorant of the “Free” school process.  Aren’t free schools treated like a corporate company being established?
    Before it is approved, doesn’t it go through rigorous examination of its business plans over 3 years, senior management, teaching staff, curriculum content, health and safety? 

    If not, why is free education considered such a lowly sector that it is not subject to the corporate legislation applying to a company, legislation applying to schools?

  4. Nicky4Kids Free schools and academies are set up by charitable trusts with ‘exempt’ status.  That means they don’t have to register with the Charities Commission and the Secretary of State acts as Principal Regulator.  They also have to register at Companies House as companies with no shares.
    This means they have to abide by Charity and Company laws.  However, it’s difficult to see how the DfE can properly regulate thousands of academy trusts.  It relies on whistleblowers, inspectors picking up problems (maybe – financial wrongdoing, for example, isn’t in their remit) and external auditors noticing errors in the way accounts are drawn up.  
    But external auditors can miss inappropriate spending of taxpayers’ money eg Sawtry Community College http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2014/10/significant-financial-irregularity-at-cambridgeshire-college-raises-questions-about-how-schools-accounts-can-be-effectively-monitored/ and Cuckoo Hall http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2015/02/efa-takes-action-at-high-profile-cuckoo-hall-academies-trust-but-questions-still-remain/

  5. Nicky4Kids Free schools and academies are set up by charitable trusts with ‘exempt’ status.  That means they don’t have to register with the Charities Commission and the Secretary of State acts as Principal Regulator.  They also have to register at Companies House as companies with no shares.
    This means they have to abide by Charity and Company laws.  However, it’s difficult to see how the DfE can properly regulate thousands of academy trusts.  It relies on whistleblowers, inspectors picking up problems (maybe – financial wrongdoing, for example, isn’t in their remit) and external auditors noticing errors in the way accounts are drawn up.  
    But external auditors can miss inappropriate spending of taxpayers’ money eg Sawtry Community College http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2014/10/significant-financial-irregularity-at-cambridgeshire-college-raises-questions-about-how-schools-accounts-can-be-effectively-monitored/ and Cuckoo Hall http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2015/02/efa-takes-action-at-high-profile-cuckoo-hall-academies-trust-but-questions-still-remain/

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