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Friday, 19 September 2014

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Carlisle's Morton Academy school put into special measures

Carlisle's Morton Academy has been plunged into special measures after failing an Ofsted inspection.

Morton academy school photo
Morton academy

Inspectors say the Wigton Road school is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard ofeducation.

Bosses have now frozen staff pay until improvements are made, a report published today states.

The report says that efforts are being made by new leaders drafted in to turn around the academy, but that strategies are still so new that their impact cannot yet be assessed.

The academy’s overall effectiveness is described as inadequate – the same rating which has also been given to pupil achievement, quality of teaching, behaviour and safety of pupils, and leadership and management.

United Learning, a chain of academies, is in the process of taking over sponsorship of Morton Academy and its sister Central Academy from the Richard Rose Federation.

A spokesman for United Learning said: “We agree with theOfsted findings which is why, in advance of us becoming sponsors, we have put in place a series of governance and leadership improvements that will serve to address the challenges facing the school.

“We are encouraged that these initiatives – covering leadership, governance, accountability, teaching and learning – have been acknowledged by Ofsted as being both appropriate and beneficial.

“We are fully aware of the challenge ahead of us at the academy but are confident that we will be finally able to address its chronic and historic underperformance”.

GCSE results have remained stubbornly low for the last three years and show “few signs of improvement”, Ofsted say.

The progress that children make during the course of their five years at the school is also “significantly below expectations”.

The inspectors’ report also states: “Inadequate teaching over time has led to students making poor progress” – just one of a number of comments they make about the academy’s previous leadership.

They also say: “Over time, the leadership, management and governance of the academy has failed to secure essential improvements in teaching in order to improve the quality of outcomes for students,” adding their opinions had been “over generous” and that they failed to tackle areas of weakness adequately. Attendance is below average and the number of children who regularly miss school is well above average. Some students are described as disruptive.

Des Bird was recently appointed as principal of the academy, a post he is due to take up in February.

Derek Davies was appointed executive principal of the city’s two Richard Rose academies last year.

Inspectors noted: “Since the executive and associate principals joined the staff and the new governance arrangements have been put in place, the life and work of the academy has been reinvigorated.”

Inspectors say the school must “urgently improve” the quality of teaching and pupil behaviour.

Alan Rutter, of Cumbria’s National Union of Teachers, said: “It is with great regret we are here. Once again Morton is in special measures and we hope that the support is there to help them.

“The people best placed to make these improvements are the local authority as they are here on the ground but we are dealing with a national chain of academies here and that is a worry for us.

“With regard to pay being frozen, the previous leadership – the report states – contributed to the problems it has now and now it appears the staff are being penalised for other people’s failings. That is grossly unfair to the staff.”

Richard Rose Morton Academy opened in September 2008, following the formal closure of its predecessor Morton School.

Morton School had twice come out of special measures after failing Ofsted inspections.

Have your say

Unfortunately Lou, it didn't cost just £2 million to build the Academies - various figures have been mentioned - starting at £30 million up to £80 million! And then there's the six figure salaries the leadership were being paid - and had to be paid even when they'd been removed from their job.
Public money completely wasted, the educational opportunities of hundreds of children, the frustration of their families, the careers of dozens of staff torpedoed and the mental health of numerous staff seriously impaired. What a travesty. It could all have been so different but the chief executive and principals of the two academies and the 6th form were willing to sacrifice all on the altar of 'we know best' when in fact they knew nothing - and have left not only the academies but in most cases, the county.
The other schools are now left to try to accommodate the pupils.

Posted by Anon teacher affected by this mess on 19 January 2014 at 20:05

Little too late for me. I took performing arts at my options which I loved only to be told at parents evening with my mam and dad that the course work had not been completed in year 10 because the performing arts teacher was on long term sickness and lessons were covered by various other teachers, therefore our class were unable to be put forward to sit our performing arts GCSE this year as it was a 2 year course.Performing arts is still on our time table for this year and my parents where told that these lessons would be used to revise for other subjects, but these subjects are being covered by various teachers.My mam and dad have serious reservations in sending my younger sister to this school in 3 years time unless major improvements take place!!!

Posted by Emily on 19 January 2014 at 14:02

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