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GM comprehensive judged to be `failing'

One of the 14 grant-maintained schools in the London borough of Bromley has been judged to be failing to provide adequate education.

Kelsey Park, a boys' comprehensive, has poor exam results, high rates of exclusion and unsatisfactory attendance records.

The school was first found to have serious weaknesses when inspected by contractors for the Office for Standards in Education in November 1994. A year later, HM Inspectors found little progress had been made in dealing with shortcomings in the quality of teaching or with disruptive behaviour in lessons.

Inspectors found that the school has been beset by management problems, largely due to turnover within the senior management team and the failure to appoint a head. At the time of inspection the last head was on sick leave prior to his early retirement in May 1995.

The report says the pace of lessons and the progress made was too frequently hindered by distracting behaviour and chatter among pupils. In some lessons, teachers lost control of the class and the teaching style became hectoring and confrontational. Relationships between teachers and pupils deteriorated - at times alarmingly, says the report.

Behaviour problems led to a high level of exclusions, mainly for fighting, and forms of physical abuse. Between September and December 1995, 60 pupils were excluded; in the previous academic year, there were 132 exclusions.

Kelsey Park has been running a deficit budget for a number of years and is expected to be Pounds 124,000 in the red this year. Levels of absence have meant added costs for supply teachers.

The Funding Agency for Schools is providing advice to the school and said a new head would take up his post next month.

Another five secondaries and one primary in the grant-maintained sector are on the list of failing schools.

One GM school, Stratford, has been taken off it.

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