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Carlisle's Richard Rose Central Academy in special measures again

Carlisle's Central Academy school has been rated “inadequate” and plunged into special measures for a second time.

Richard Rose photo
Richard Rose Central Academy

Government inspectors say standards at the flagship Richard Rose Central Academy are not acceptable.

Staff and governors are said to be devastated at the judgement.

Education watchdog Ofsted has given the city centre secondary its lowest rating in every area examined – pupil achievement, teaching quality, pupil behaviour and safety and leadership and management.

Inspectors say “systemic weaknesses” in leadership have “slowed the pace and momentum for improvement” since the 1,000-pupil academy was previously assessed.

The damning verdict follows an inspection last month.

Governors say they are determined the school will recover and have already appointed highly-regarded schools leader Derek Davies as executive principal of Central and its sister Carlisle academy Morton to tackle concerns.

Property magnate Brian Scowcroft, the school’s chairman of governors, said in a letter to parents: “The result of the inspection is that the academy requires special measures to secure improvement. This is very disappointing but we, the governing body, fully accept Ofsted’s findings and conclusions on the issues the academy urgently needs to address.”

Special measures are imposed when a school fails to provide an acceptable standard of education and does not show capacity to make necessary improvements. In Central’s case, inspectors say:

  • The achievement of students is inadequate and standards are too low, particularly in English, maths and science. Far fewer students than nationally make the expected progress in these subjects.
  • Too much teaching is inadequate or requires improvement. There is not enough good or outstanding teaching to overcome students’ past underachievement.
  • Teachers do not demand enough of students and marking does not always tell students how they can improve.
  • Middle leaders do not all have high enough expectations of students or the necessary expertise to ensure good progress.
  • A significant minority of students do not behave well enough and disrupt lessons. Teachers are not always successful at tackling this.
  • Attendance is well below the national average and showing only limited improvement.
  • Governance is inadequate. Since the previous inspection, the governing body has not ensured that the academy has improved its performance. Governors have not had enough information and guidance to help them rigorously question leaders about the quality of teaching, behaviour and students’ progress.

Its strengths, however, are students feeling safe, with good relationships; subjects and a curriculum that generally meets pupil needs and has a positive impact; and the achievement of sixth form students in vocational courses. A higher proportion of sixth form teaching is judged as good.

The last time Central plunged into special measures was just three months after its creation in 2008.

School leaders have been trying to make improvements. Special measures first time around were lifted after 20 months and the academy was rated “satisfactory” with “good” capacity for improvement at its last inspection in 2010.

But changes have not been at the pace demanded. Inspection standards have also been raised.

Mr Davies, a former National Leader of Education who took a school from special measures to outstanding in four years, will work with headteachers at both academies. Mr Scowcroft says he has the experience to move the schools forward “at pace”.

Central was created as one of the country’s first academies following the merger of the former St Aidan’s and North Cumbria Technology College.

The rate of pupils achieving the Government’s benchmark of five A*-C GCSEs or equivalents, including English and maths, rose by six percentage points in the last academic year, to 37 per cent. The national average was 59.4 per cent. Cumbria’s was 56.1 per cent.

Have your say

Why are people still choosing to send their children to the Richard Rose schools? Did you see the GCSE results for A*-C it was only 31% that's failing all these children. Trinity only got 35% but the little Catholic school, Newman got an amazing 63% with 90% of kids getting A*-C. That's so much over the national average. The council and news should be shouting their praise. Well done Newman, showing that Cumbrian schools can do it.

Posted by Emma on 18 September 2013 at 07:45

There seems to be a gross inaccuracy within these pages about the about the predeccessor school : ST AIDANS WAS NEVER IN SPECIAL MEASURES ,read its ofsted reports if they still exist, the publicity campaing for RRF hinted that the performance of both predecessor school was low - false - they never stated it directly because they couldnt prove it and would have faced dozens of Law suits, as for NCTC, the then Head Mark Yearsley had moved there form solway and brought the school out of special measures long before the merger.Pity he left , but Peter Noble had tied his hands!! preventing him exercising his expertise and good judgement. if your going to Comment GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT.

Posted by Montague West on 22 May 2013 at 17:44

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