Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Arden criticised over support for "inadequate" school

ARDEN school has been criticised by education inspectors over how it managed its sponsorship of a underperforming school in north Solihull.

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Ofsted said Arden gave “light touch support” to Park Hall Academy, Castle Bromwich as its sponsor school since September 2009.

It has rated Park Hall inadequate in all four key areas, downgrading it from a satisfactory rating in 2012. Arden has now taken over direct management of the school.

“Successful” schools are invited to sponsor “underperforming” schools by The Department for Education.

Ofsted said: “The sponsor trust has not provided the support or challenge that is needed to ensure the academy’s leaders can bring about the required improvements in teaching and standards.

“The Arden Academy has provided light touch support, although some help has recently been provided for sixth form teaching and in mathematics.”

It said: “Leaders, the governing body and the academy’s sponsor have not ensured that teaching and achievement have improved.”

Its report said students “do not make enough progress in a number of subjects” and “teachers do not always plan interesting and engaging learning activities”.

Pupils do not get “clear feedback” and staff “do not have high enough expectations of students’ behaviour”.

It said: “Leaders’ judgements on the quality of teaching are not always accurate.”

The Silhillian last month reported that Arden had taken over the running of Park Hall.

In a letter to Arden parents, Arden principal Martin Murphy said Park Hall principal Tony Morrison “has moved on”.

Park Hall was last May congratulated by education minister David Laws for being one of the top 100 most improved in the country.

Yet Mr Murphy blamed Park Hall’s problems on “changes to examination system and problems with the recruitment of good teachers”.

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