Ofsted inspectors have heaped yet more bad news at the door of Al-Madinah Free School in Derby, stating that the school “remains in chaos”.
In a follow-up report into the struggling free school, the watchdog said that Al-Madinah was “not improving”, just weeks after it branded the school as “dysfunctional” and placed it in special measures.
Back in October, the country’s first Muslim free-school (pictured) became mired in controversy after its principal walked out amid allegations of discrimination towards both female members of staff and pupils.
The school was then temporarily closed for a week as Ofsted inspectors were parachuted in. They reported that the school was “in chaos” and judged it “inadequate” in every single category.
Schools minister Lord Nash was forced to write a letter to Al-Madinah’s governing body, threatening to close the school unless drastic measures were taken.
In its monitoring inspection published today, Ofsted said that “insufficient action” had been taken by the school and that there were “no signs of improvement at the school”.
“The uncertainty around governance and leadership has contributed to the school being less stable than it was at the time of the last inspection. This school remains in chaos,” the letter reads.
According to the Section 8 report, the school was not improving because relationships between school leaders were, at all levels, “destructive and deteriorating”.
“The school’s plans are not good enough; they lack clear targets and actions. Teaching staff are not given clear messages about what has to be done. School leaders are not holding teachers to account for the quality of teaching, which remains inadequate and, more worryingly, is not showing any signs of improving,” the letter adds.
Since the troubles surrounding the school were made public, 47 pupils have left the school, while five members of staff have resigned. The interim principal, Stuart Wilson, was also absent, according to the letter.
The school’s governing body has since agreed to resign and Al-Madinah is now being assessed by Barry Day, chief executive of the Greenwood Dale Foundation Trust (GDFT), a Nottingham-based academy sponsor that runs 22 schools.
The GDFT said that it had been working with Al-Madinah since Lord Nash asked it to.
“As chief executive I have been very involved with this and I am advising my trust board that we continue with our school improvement work,” Mr Day said.
“There is still much to do to resolve the issues raised by Ofsted and our priority is to make sure the school has a sustainable future.”
Mr Day did, however, admit that he would be recommending that the Derby school not become part of the Trust due to outstanding issues with governance, finance, procurement and staff contracts "that other agencies need to resolve".