Porn scandal primary put into special measures

18th June 2010 at 01:00
Damning Ofsted report follows firing of head who watched sex films at work

The high-profile London primary that sacked its head last year after he was caught watching internet pornography on his office computer has been put into special measures by Ofsted.

Canonbury primary in north London, where mayor Boris Johnson recently sent his children and whose current parents include Fever Pitch author Nick Hornby and actor Rupert Graves, was given the damning assessment after a recent inspection.

The verdict comes just over a year after previous head Jay Henderson, who was singled out for praise in the school's last Ofsted report, was dismissed from his pound;80,000-a-year post for gross misconduct.

The 2010 inspection report said: "This school requires special measures because it 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."

Mr Henderson was suspended on full pay in October 2008 while Islington Council investigated allegations that he watched porn at work. He was fired last May.

Ofsted said the incident had affected the school's performance and that the management's views of how well it was doing were at odds with what inspectors found.

"Senior leaders' evaluations of the school's performance are over-generous in almost all areas of its work," it said.

"The lack of a substantive headteacher for an extended period of time has had a negative impact on the school's development and it is now in a worse position than it was at the time of the last inspection."

Ofsted said teaching standards at the school, whose high-profile governors include local Liberal Democrat councillor Julie Horton and Ian Katz, deputy editor of The Guardian, were poor, that planning was weak and "work is often too easy, especially for more able pupils".

Mr Henderson has since been replaced by Matthew Britt, who has said he is addressing criticism made by Ofsted about the school's reliance on staff employed on temporary contracts.

The TES understands that Mr Britt has begun to restructure the school's 80 staff.

As part of the shake-up, it is expected that specialist teachers in areas such art, music and PE will lose their jobs along with teaching assistants, and that the contracts of a number of temporary staff will not be renewed. Up to 30 people are likely to be affected and they will be replaced by senior teachers who will oversee class teachers.

Mr Britt said: "I truly believe that with the prompt action governors have supported me to take, we have already laid the foundation for turning Canonbury around."

The last time Ofsted visited the school in 2006, it singled out Mr Henderson for special praise in a generally upbeat report. "The headteacher is an inspirational leader who leads by example in his commitment and drive to improve all aspects of pupils' learning," it stated.

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