Academy failing says watchdog

Purston E-Act Academy, Featherstone, has recently been put into special measures as the school has been deemed as failing.'p310a411
Purston E-Act Academy, Featherstone, has recently been put into special measures as the school has been deemed as failing.'p310a411

Staff absence, low expectations of pupils and poor achievement are just some of the issues that have led to Purston E-Act Academy being placed into special measures by Ofsted.

A report published last Friday, judged the school on Pontefract Road, Featherstone, to be inadequate across the board.

Inspectors said pupils under-achieve at the academy and highlighted pupils’ progress in maths as ‘a concern.’

The report added: “Too much teaching is ‘run-of-the-mill’ and this is not helping students catch up and make better progress.”

Students told inspectors that staff absences were disrupting their learning and inspectors said there was a ‘lack of respect’ from some pupils for supply teachers and midday staff.

Some students were said to use excuses to leave lessons and then wander the corridors with little enthusiam for returning to class. Others admitted playing ‘cat and mouse’ games with staff when it comes to finding a place to smoke on site, which is against school rules.

The report said the academy had not made effective use of funding to improve progress, behaviour and attendance of disadvantaged students, and that teachers’ expectations, particularly of the least able pupils, were too low.

It acknowledged things were starting to improve since the appointment of an interim principal, who had made a ‘strong start’ in identifying the weaknesses of the academy with the help of his permanent vice principal, but said there was still a way to go, adding: “The process to recruit and appoint permanent staff is underway, nevertheless, until these are in place the capacity of the academy’s leaders to bring about sustainable improvements is fragile.”

In a letter to parents published on the school’s website, interim principal Rob Rossides said: “Despite a disappointing outcome overall, the report does acknowledge that improvements have gathered pace in the last few weeks and months, and that the senior leadership team is taking swift action to get the academy back on track.

“As a result of the inspection, an action plan has been written to address the academy’s weaknesses. Inspectors will visit regularly over the next 18 months in order to check on progress against it, and the monitoring period will end with a further inspection.”

Mr Rossides said the academy would soon have a new sponsor after the current one, E-Act, recently agreed to reduce the number of academies it has nationally from 34 to 24, following discussions with the Department for Education.

He said talks were underway with the Rodillian Academy Trust, which he said, is a Wakefield-based, preferred sponsor.

He added: “In addition to a new academy sponsor, the academy will have a new principal, two new senior leaders, a new chair of governors and a number of new teacher recruits in place in the near future in order to support further improvements in the academy.”