Federation pioneer fails inspection

27th February 2004 at 00:00
A primary school that pioneered the idea of federated schools is facing closure after being placed in special measures for a second time.

Mixenden community primary in Halifax, west Yorkshire, became the subject of a radical experiment in school improvement in 1999 when Calderdale education authority asked the successful head of another of the town's primaries to help turn it around.

Jean Heslop, who won the first national Teaching Award for school leadership that year, was reluctant to give up her post at Cliffe Hill junior and infants and instead became the effective head of both schools.

Staff, governors and pupils all shared ideas in a partnership that pre-dated the Department for Education and Skills's proposals for formal federations of schools by more than two years.

Mixenden primary had been in special measures for two-and-a-half years when Mrs Heslop arrived in January 2000. Under the new arrangement it came out in less than a year.

In July 2002 Mrs Heslop retired, by which time the partnership between the schools had come to an end.

Last November, the Office for Standards in Education visited Mixenden and placed it back into special measures, citing problems including poor key stage 2 test results, unsatisfactory teaching and poor value for money.

Calderdale council will meet next week to decide whether to follow recommendations and begin closing the school.

Caroline Gruen, the authority's education director, said the move was prompted by the DfES's special measures team which felt that a fast-track closure by August was the "only realistic option".

Sue McMahon, Calderdale secretary of the National Union of Teachers , said the school had not been given a fair chance.

Its special measures action plan was not due in until March 8 and the LEA had told her the school would have at least until the end of term so that the impact of new staff could be assessed.

Mixenden, an isolated and deprived community of mainly local authority housing on the outskirts of Halifax, has one other primary school with just 15 spare places.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now