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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Carlisle's Richard Rose schools to be taken over

A crisis-hit academy school condemned as inadequate is being taken over.

Brian Scowcroft photo
Brian Scowcroft

Control of Carlisle’s Richard Rose Central Academy is being taken on by a new sponsor, United Learning.

It is also taking charge of the school’s sister city secondary, Richard Rose Morton.

The deal, announced by the Department for Education today, signals the end for the Richard Rose Federation, the education organisation which created the academies with financial sponsorship from property magnate Brian Scowcroft and Eddie Stobart chief Andrew Tinkler.

The move has been announced 10 days after it was revealed that Central had been plunged into special measures – the harshest action possible by education watchdog Ofsted – after inspectors found it was “inadequate” in all areas amid stinging criticism of how the school is run.

It is the second time in four years that the school, formed in 2008 through the controversial merger of the former St Aidan’s and North Cumbria Technology College – has been found to be giving an unacceptable standard of education.

It is a change that Mr Scowcroft, current chairman of governors for both Richard Rose academies, says will provide the secondaries with a “positive future”.

Although he will no longer be a sponsor of the schools, which have about 1,700 pupils between them,he will remain involved with their governing body.

Mr Scowcroft was today thanked for his on-going commitment to education in Carlisle by Schools Minister Lord Nash.

An action plan is currently being drawn up to try and pull Central out of special measures.

Although progress has been made at Morton, inspectors said it “required improvement” following its last inspection.

United Learning, a group of independent schools and academies, has been a trailblazer in improving standards in academies.

On average, its academies have seen GCSE performance improve by more than 30 percentage points for pupils achieving five A*-C qualifications, including England and maths, the Department for Education (DfE) said.

United Learning chief executive Jon Coles said: “We are very pleased to welcome the Richard Rose Academies into United Learning.

“We believe that they have great potential to be excellent schools for the young people of Carlisle and we are committed to supporting them to achieve this as quickly as possible.”

Richard Rose announced last week that a new executive principal, Derek Davies, has been appointed and will oversee work at Central and Morton.

He has already met Carlisle MP John Stevenson to brief him on the work that’s to take place to improve standards.

The politician said afterwards that the talks gave him optimism for the future of the schools.

Mr Scowcroft said: “I decided to sponsor the Richard Rose Academies because I want the young people of Carlisle to have outstanding educational opportunities.

“Last year, I came to the conclusion that the schools needed more educational support if they are to achieve this goal.

“I have been having detailed discussions with the Department for Education and United Learning about how best to get this support.

“I am very pleased to be able to announce that as a result of those discussions, United Learning have agreed to take on responsibility for the two schools.

“This will provide the two academies with a positive and secure future.”

Although the Carlisle academies now have a new sponsor, its names will remain the same.

The DfE said last week that standards at Central, where inspectors say too much teaching is inadequate, pupil achievements are low, that a “significant minority” of students don’t behave well enough and governors are not doing their job, had not been good enough for a “long time”.

It stressed that under-performance would not be tolerated and that it was in talks with Central’s leaders to ensure children get the “first-class education they deserve”.

Lord Nash said: “United Learning will provide the strong leadership and external challenge the schools require to turn them round.”

Mr Stevenson met with Richard Rose leaders on Monday.

He said afterwards: “My initial impression is of a team who are focused and determined to see improvements to both academies, but particularly at Central.”

Have your say

The parents should be backing the school by making sure children behave with respect to other children and teachers Hearing people say it is ok for teenagers to wear make up at school is ridiculous when it is against the rules, the school needs support from parents not parents agreeing with teenagers so they have an easy life. Also we need the press to publish more good things about the school such as all the wonderful dance shows they have put on at the Sands and at school where children have all managed to behave wonderfully for weeks on end in rehearsals and the children who represent the school in sport and charities etc, stop just printing everything to get a good story it effects these childrens moral and their lives.

Posted by a parent on 13 March 2013 at 19:53

Hopefully the change in sponsors will mean that the ‘Richard Rose’ can now be dropped. Can we also have an assurance that all of the governors who presided over the failure will be replaced as soon as possible?

Posted by Chris on 11 March 2013 at 17:12

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