School is placed in special measures as Ofsted warns of breakdown between academy trust and governors

The Yorkshire Post is reporting that a Leeds school has been placed in special measures in an Ofsted report warning the relationship between the academy trust responsible for it and the school’s governing body had broken down. 

The education watchdog has rated the David Young Community Academy in Seacroft as inadequate in all inspection areas.

The report has been published today as it was confirmed that Ros McMullen the school’s executive principal and the chief executive of the LEAF Academy Trust was leaving her post.

It also follows an independent inspection which was commissioned by the school’s new principal Jeremy Richardson after David Young’s GCSE results were far worse than expected. The school had predicted 55 per cent of pupils achieving five good GCSEs, including English and maths, but only 34 per cent achieved it.

The new Ofsted report says leaders of the school and the academy trust have failed to fulfil legislative requirements relating to safeguarding and to health and safety.

And it warns that a breakdown in relationships between the academy trust and the local governing body, school leaders and staff has delayed essential academy improvements.

Ofsted say that until recently, governors have not challenged school leaders effectively and have been too reliant on senior leaders for information on how well the academy was doing.

Inspectors found that the LEAF academy trust “has an unrealistic view of the academy’s effectiveness, which has been in decline for some time.”

The report says that the new principal has rapidly established an accurate picture of the academy’s position and gained the confidence of governors, senior leaders and staff. “The local governing body, senior leaders and staff have confidence in the new principal and the changes he has proposed but this is not acknowledged by the academy trust,” the report adds…

The report describes the leadership of the academy as dysfunctional and adds: “There is a failure in effective communication between the academy trust and the group of other key stakeholders, including the recently appointed principal, the local governing body, other senior academy leaders and teachers…”

Earlier today the Yorkshire Evening Post reported that Ms McMullen was leaving her post at the end of the year. She was the founding principal of the David Young Community Academy when it opened in 2006 and has since become both its executive principal and the chief executive of the LEAF Academy Trust which runs the school…

More at: Leeds school is placed in special measures as Ofsted warns of breakdown between academy trust and governors


The report isn’t actually on the Ofsted website yet so whether the Yorkshire Post is reporting on what is still technically a draft version is not clear.

Taken as reported here, it seems the roles of academy trust, governors and school leaders have not been clearly defined or, at least, those in them have not been carrying out the roles particularly effectively.

However, Ofsted appears to be impressed by the new principal – it will be interesting to see what kind of difference he can make over the coming months.


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  1. MikesuziNZ

    SchoolsImprove Academies don’t make any difference, you have ruined education. Support those who need it and be honest.

  2. VictoriaJaquiss

    Well, the DYA was born out of the very much
    unwelcome closure and merger of two high schools nowhere near Seacroft – all
    boys Braimwood in Roundhay and mixed C of E Agnes Stewart in Burmantoffs. The
    Foxwood/East Leeds building was still standing on its firm foundations over the
    fields and in sight, but obviously what this area needed was a fortress of
    non-architecture, a lot of lime green paint and a escalator at the front
    entrance. And obviously construction companies need to earn a living!

    From the off DYA then operated its “fair
    banding” policy, not a policy that was not available to the schools it closed
    down. i.e. selecting a mix and able and less able kids. And in one year DYA
    excluded more children than all other Leeds schools put together. A friend,on
    Appeals Panel at the time, despaired.

    The excluded children were then farmed off to
    the historically unpopular inner-city schools who were regularly disparaged in
    the media by the late unlamented Education Leeds and its CEO [just as M Wilshaw
    is currently damning the whole of Bradford] who was enthusiastically facilitating
    the merger. He used the word, Brilliant a lot, and was only interested in how
    things looked, not how things were.

    My interest in this if course was that I taught
    the kids of Seacroft and Gipton for a happy and challenging 16 years and would
    have stayed had not Foxwood School not been sacrificed on the altar of results
    to be closed and merged itself.

    What children need are well-respected and remunerated
    staff who are happy to spend their careers mostly in one place. When you are
    greeted with You taught mum, you have saved a lot of time having to prove
    yourself . Trust and respect straight off, and from the staff’s side too.

    What education needs is to be publicly owned
    and publicly run, and their buildings, staff and other assets not given away to
    entrepreneurs and private companies who are only in it for the business, the
    money and the power, and in some cases because they have an overwhelming belief
    in themselves. Who may or may not have  experience and background in education.

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