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Thursday 13 March 2014

Free School Total Failure

The publication, at 0630 hours today, of the latest puff piece cheerleading for Michael “Oiky” Gove by the loathsome Toby Young, was all too predictable, given yesterday’s events. Quite apart from the murmurings about Gove, and the mounting cost of his Free Schools programme, there was the revelation that Dominic Cummings was indeed behind the @toryeducation Twitter account.
Yes, "Oiky", it failed on your watch

Plus there was one other event that Tobes has predictably missed off today’s epistle to those who inhabit the bear pit that is Telegraph blogs: Ofsted has now released its report into IES Breckland, a Free School in Suffolk. And one look at the findings shows why Gove’s cheerleaders – think Fraser Nelson as well as Young – don’t want to go there. This report makes for grim reading.

The achievement of pupils was “inadequate”: “Standards of pupils’ work across different subjects indicate that students are often around one year behind their peers nationally. Achievement levels are very poor ... Students make slow progress in lessons. Students’ workbooks show that progress over time is inadequate. In English, the work of some students has declined since joining the school”. Ouch!

The quality of teaching? Also “inadequate”: “Not all teachers have sufficient subject expertise. Teaching is often ineffective because teachers lack subject knowledge”. What was that about untrained teachers, Tobes? OK then, how about The Behaviour And Safety Of Pupils? Yes, this too was “inadequate”: “There is too much persistent low-level disruption in lessons ... This is not challenged sufficiently by teachers”.

And the leadership and management? “Inadequate”: “The school’s leaders have failed to provide a safe and orderly environment for students to learn and achieve their full potential ... The management of teachers’ performance is not good enough ... School leaders have failed to improve the quality of teaching ... believe that many teachers are more effective than the progress of their students would suggest”.

IES, who run the school, also get it in the neck: “IES has acted promptly to appoint a new Principal and other managers. However, their work has been ineffective in raising standards or improving teaching”. Small wonder that, having garnered a straight four raspberries, the inspectors have concluded that “This is a school that requires special measures”. What we have here is a failed school.

So what does Tobes have to say about that? “We cannot let Michael Gove be beaten by the Blob” he bleats. Look over there at the rotten lefty unions! It’s someone else’s fault!. Well, have I got news for him and his pals: the failure here is not the unions, it’s not the “establishment”, it’s not the Labour Party, and it’s nothing to do with how hard the exams are. The failure is down to his pal Gove.

That failure is spraying ever more of our money up the wall. That’s not good enough.

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