William Lovell Academy leaders told by Ofsted they have ‘let pupils down’ and left school ‘in a state of flux’ as watchdog rates it ‘inadequate’

editorial image

Leaders at William Lovell Church of England Academy have been told they have ‘let pupils down’ and ‘left the school in a state of flux’ after an Ofsted inspection graded it ‘inadequate’ across the board and recommended it as requiring special measures.

The report states: “Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector is of the opinion that this school requires special measures because it is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and the persons responsible for leading, managing or governing the school are not demonstrating the capacity to secure the necessary improvement in the school.”

The last inspection of the school, completed in 2013, rated the school as ‘good’ across the board.

Since 2015, the school has been sponsored by The Lincolnshire Anglican Academy Trust.

The report notes that the trust had not, until recently, taken ‘sufficient action’ to secure improvements for pupils or provide effective support for leaders, adding that older pupils in particular felt let down.

But it says that behaviour has improved since the start of the year ‘because of better leadership’ and that recent improvements to some aspects of subject leadership ‘are starting to have an impact on pupils’ progress’.

The report says leaders had not taken ‘swift and effective’ action to improve pupils’ progress and said the quality of teaching was ‘inadequate’.

The inspection says: “Leaders have let pupils down. The work of the trust has not led to improvements in the school. The overall effectiveness of the school has declined since the previous inspection.

“Leaders at all levels have not adequately evaluated plans and improvement strategies.

“They did not tackle the most pressing weaknesses to secure accurate assessment, good teaching and outcomes. As a result, for too long, pupils have underachieved.

“Changes to leadership have left the school in a state of flux. While some improvements are now evident, they have come too late to ensure that all pupils have been able to fulfil their potential.”

However, it notes that since September 2017, when the former head teacher Sonja Craig left, the trust had appointed a new acting headteacher, Carol Acheson, and four consultant head teachers.

It also notes that William Lovell is a part of a ‘local teaching school alliance’ but criticises it for being ‘over-reliant on external support and lacking the capacity to build on and sustain improvements’.

The report praises the new team for taking ‘decisive actions to improve the school’ which it says are supported by staff.

It praises pupils as well mannered and polite and says they feel safe in the school.

But it says that the quality of teaching is ‘inadequate’, with most pupils not having their curriculum needs met.

The report makes several mentions of disadvantaged pupils and those who have special educational needs having high absence and exclusion and consistently not making the progress they should.

It says poor recording systems have ‘rigorously limited’ the leaders’ ability to analyse information about pupil’s behaviour and attendance.

It also notes that teachers ‘do not have high enough expectations’ of what pupils can achieve.

A statement from the trust, posted on the school’s website said: “Ofsted inspectors visited the Academy in January and their report has now been published. The inspectors have acknowledged that the team which the Trust has put in place is now making progress.

“We would like to assure you that effective plans are in place to continue moving forward in all areas and make the progress required. The Trust would like to thank the leadership team for their hard work as they address the needs in the school.

“In the next few weeks there will be a drop in session if any of you would like to discuss the report.”