Ofsted inspectors believe Durand Academy should be in special measures

Inspectors wrote that Durand is "failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education"

News article image

Durand Academy, the controversial school already battling government attempts to terminate its funding agreement, is "inadequate" and should be placed in special measures according to a draft report accidently published on Ofsted’s website.

In the report, which appeared online on Wednesday night, the inspectorate rated the primary school in Stockwell, south London - which has a boarding site in in West Sussex - as inadequate on eight out of nine subheadings.

They include effectiveness of leadership and management, quality of teaching, pupil behaviour and welfare, and outcomes for pupils. Only ‘overall experiences and progress of children and young people in the boarding provision’ is judged better than inadequate and is rated as ‘requires improvement’.

Ofsted removed the draft report from its website this morning.

An Ofsted spokesman said: “A final version of the report will be published in the coming days.

“A version of the report which had not been approved for final publication on the Ofsted website was published in error for a short period of time. We have now taken it down from the website.

“We have contacted the school’s representatives this morning to apologise for this error.

“We are urgently investigating how this happened.”

The inspectors wrote that the school 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”.

They also warned that “leaders are not fulfilling their responsibilities to ensure pupils’ welfare. They cannot account for the whereabouts of all pupils or ensure an appropriate education for everyone.”

The verdict, if confirmed in the final inspection report, will be another major blow for the school, which had been rated good in its last Ofsted inspection.

The school’s former headteacher Sir Greg Martin, whose £229,000 pay package attracted criticism, and who now chairs its governing body, had told TES the trust was challenging the latest report.

It follows an inspection at the school over two days, from November 30 to December 1. But the dispute with Ofsted had held up the report’s publication.

Sir Greg had hit out the inspectorate, telling TES: “[Ofsted] seems to be a very bureaucratic and pointless thing to have these days. I don’t really see the use of it any longer, given the amount of information about schools online, and the league tables.”

He cited the school's performance in last year’s national Key Stage 2 tests, which rated its progress scores as “well above national average” for reading, writing and maths.

But inspectors wrote that: “Teaching across the school is too variable. This means that pupils’ achievements are inconsistent.

“The rapid progress made in key stage 2 is not replicated in the early years or in key stages 1, 3 or 4.”

The inspectors also warned that: “Achievement in writing across the school requires improvement. Many pupils do well especially in the Year 6 tests.

“Others, including the most able and disadvantaged pupils, underachieve significantly.”

Other concerns in the draft report include:

*Senior leaders have an inflated view of the school’s strengths and underestimate the seriousness of its weaknesses.

*Wide variations in the quality of teaching mean that too many pupils fail to reach their potential.

*The excessive number of exclusions resulting from boarders’ inappropriate behaviour disrupts their learning.

*A boarder’s allegation of abuse by a member of staff was not referred to the local authority designated officer for consultation.

The Education Funding Agency (EFA) announced in October it planned to terminate Durand’s funding agreement, amid high-profile concerns about conflicts of interest in its complex management structure.

It has now emerged that Sir Greg and other representatives of the Durand academy trust met Peter Lauener, chief executive of the EFA, last month, to argue against the termination notice.

Sir Greg described the meeting as “quite frank”, and said he had not yet heard whether the EFA still planned to go ahead.

The Department for Education declined to comment on the meeting, which it said was private, or its outcome, but repeated a previous statement from academies minister Lord Nash that the DfE was “planning to proceed with the termination of the trust’s funding agreement”.

It said Durand had failed or refused to comply with six out of eight requirements set out in a provisional notice of termination issued in July.

It added: “This is not a decision we have taken lightly but it has been done to safeguard the future education of Durand's pupils and to ensure public money and public assets intended for the education of children are managed effectively.”

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you