Sandy school branded ‘inadequate’ is recommended for closure

A Sandy school deemed 'inadequate' by inspectors could be about to close. File photo.

A Sandy school deemed 'inadequate' by inspectors could be about to close. File photo. - Credit: Archant

A Sandy school that was deemed ‘inadequate’ by inspectors could be on the verge of closure.

Sandye Place Academy received the lowest rating overall in an Ofsted report published on Monday, based on visits in December – with the chief inspector urging special measures in his summary.

Two days later Central Beds Council wrote to prospective parents to advise them it had recommended to the Department for Education that Sandye Place close due to a surplus of school places in the town, school chair of governors Hannah Ranson told the Comet on Thursday.

“We have been pushing the DfE to give us some clarity on the future for our school but have yet to hear anything,” she said.

“Until that time and as long as the school is running we will continue to put everything we can into giving our children the best possible education.”

A council spokesman told the Comet: “We understand the news about potential changes at Sandye Place is unsettling to parents.

“However, we felt it our duty to inform local parents, including those at Sandye Place, of the discussions about the school. Many parents have applied for school places for later this year and will soon be considering their offers – on April 16, in fact.”

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Any decision to close the school would rest solely with the Department for Education.

The ‘inadequate’ Ofsted report marks a fall from an overall ‘good’ rating in 2014. The Park Road school was deemed inadequate on leadership and pupil outcomes, with ‘requires improvement’ ratings for quality of teaching and personal development.

Sandye Place principal Kim McCamley said: “There is no denying that our SATs results in previous years have not been where we wanted them to be.

“As a middle school we can show that our pupils make good progress from when they join us to when they leave, but we also need to make sure that the attainment is at least in line with the national average.

Mrs Ranson added: “This was a difficult judgment to hear and we could point to extenuating factors that led us to where we are, but now is not the time for excuses. The fact is that our results have not been where they should be and we all shoulder some of that responsibility.

“For the governing body we are stepping up in both our support and challenge for the school, making sure we have the right external support to get us to where we need to be.

“I am proud of the response I have seen from the senior leadership team in driving forward the changes needed.”

Positives highlighted by the inspectors included that everyone at the school felt happy and safe, that new leaders had come in, and that pupils were well-presented and proud of their school.