Rarely can a point have been better made than when two London schools were visited by Ofsted inspectors recently. While Grove Park Primary School in west London – a Local Education Authority (LEA) school – was scoring “Outstanding” across the board, the Hartsbrook E-ACT Free School in Tottenham merited “Inadequate” in all areas. It was not the only E-ACT failure.
Yes, "Oiky", your Free Schools are failing. Again
“Tottenham’s first ‘free school’ has been put into special measures by Ofsted and will be surrendered by its sponsor after receiving a damning inspection report just 18 months after opening” told the Tottenham Journal, adding “The inspection was one of a wave of visits to 16 primary and secondary schools run by the E-ACT chain across the country after concerns were raised about their performance”.
Those inspections did not make for good reading at the Gove bunker: “Of the 16 schools inspected, five failed outright, including Hartsbrook E-ACT free school. A further six ‘required improvement’ and were failing to provide a ‘good’ education for children, four were rated ‘good’ and one was judged ‘outstanding’” told the Independent. One “outstanding” out of sixteen? Ye Gods.
It got worse, as the Indy noted: “Of the 18 other schools run by the chain, which had already been inspected, 11 were judged to be less than good in the standards they reached”. On my maths, that makes 22 out of 34 E-ACT schools that are either “inadequate” or requiring improvement. And Ofsted, at present, “is forbidden by law from inspecting academy chains”. Maybe not for long.
The Hartsbrook Ofsted report would have had the book thrown at an LEA which allowed schools to get into the state where: “teaching has been inadequate in all classes ... The majority of children fail to reach expected standards by the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage ... The needs of pupils who speak English as an additional language are inadequately met”.
Now look at the Grove Park report: “All groups of pupils ... make rapid and sustained progress and there is no gap in attainment between them and their peers”, although “Two thirds of the pupils are from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds other than White British. Half of these are learning English as an additional language”. Cue large flashing neon sign ... IT’S NOT BLOODY ROCKET SCIENCE.
Then, just to round things off, Ofsted revealed that “E-ACT had deducted a proportion of the pupil premium – given to schools to improve the performance of disadvantaged pupils – before it had reached the schools”. It seems that there is another horror story coming out of Michael “Oiky” Gove’s education revolution every week. One wonders just how much of this success can be tolerated.
Meanwhile, pupils’ education is being damaged. And that’s not good enough.