Stevenage based school federation set for axe in wake of ‘inadequate’ Ofsted grade for The Barclay

The Barclay School.

The Barclay School. - Credit: Archant

An executive head will be put in charge of The Barclay School and its federation with Almond Hill primary school will be dismantled after it was graded ‘inadequate’ at a recent Ofsted inspection following a government warning about standards.

The Barclay School.

The Barclay School. - Credit: Archant

The inspection report published on October 19, grades the school ‘inadequate’ in three out of six key areas. The rest are graded ‘requires improvement’.

It followed a warning letter sent from the Department for Education in May which said the 38 per cent of pupils receiving five A* to C grades including English and Maths in 2015, was ‘unacceptably low’.

The school was asked to show it had plans in place to improve progress and to consider joining a multi-academy trust, but the recent inspection report found key failings including: teaching not being good enough to enable pupils to make progress of which they are capable; leaders being overgenerous in evaluating the quality of teaching; pupils with special educational needs not achieving as well as they should and subject leaders not effectively strengthening key aspects of teaching.

The Comet understands the school could be forced to become an academy by the government if standards do not improve.

Nicky Clarke, chair of The Stevenage Inspire Federation which is to be dissolved, said: “Over the last year there has been steady progress at the school in some areas, led by new head teacher and supported by Catalyst, an outstanding teaching alliance.

“Our recent Ofsted report has shown that the school needs considerable support but that the systems are in place to move the school forward.

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“We will have a new executive head in place to support these systems and a package of support from the local authority to ensure there is rapid improvement for our students.”

Once the federation is dissolved, each school will revert to having its own dedicated board of governors but Ms Clarke said the schools will still support each other.

She added: “The governors and staff have great aspirations for our children and we are determined that The Barclay School will be a high-achieving school that the community can be proud of.”

Questions were raised when the school failed to reveal its GCSE results in the summer but some schools did take this decision due to the introduction of the new ‘Attainment 8’ progress scores.

Instead of the old percentage for students achieving five GCSEs including English and maths, schools now receive a score which is based on how well pupils have performed in up to eight qualifications, including English and maths, three qualifications including sciences, computer science, history, geography and languages, and three other additional approved qualifications.

The Barclay School received a 41.3 point score this year compared to a county average of 52.9 points and an England average of 48.2 points. 35 per cent of pupils achieved a grade C or better in English compared to a county average of 69 per cent and an England average of 58 per cent.

The Ofsted report also listed key strengths including: the recently appointed headteacher having a clear understanding of what needs to improve and has quickly established a culture of high expectations and has prioritised changes.

Pastoral leadership is effective and pupils feel safe and well cared for in school and governors have established strong external partnerships and have a better knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of the school.

The current headteacher of The Barclay School, Jacquie O’Connor, declined to be interviewed by the Comet.