COUNCILLORS are “reluctantly” backing plans to turn a failing inner city school into an academy after it fell into special measures for the third time.
Endeavour High, a £15m school that was supposed to herald a new start for education in Hull when it opened a decade ago, faces an uncertain future after being judged inadequate by education watchdog Ofsted.
Ofsted criticised the school, almost half of whose pupils have English as a second language, for inadequacies in the quality of teaching and poor standards in English and Maths.
It blamed governors for not holding the headteacher to account and failing to uncover why students were underachieving.
Just 19 per cent of children achieved the benchmark five Grade A to Cs including English and Maths this year – although the school, which was built to take 1,200 children, but now has less than 500 on the roll, blames the English marking fiasco for the slide in results.
In a report entitled A Case for Closure last year Hull Council’s former head of learning, participation and skills Judith Harwood said numbers were expected to continue falling, making Endeavour non-viable.
But Labour councillor Colin Inglis said he did not believe closure was a viable option, and supported moves to turn it into an all-through academy school, taking pupils aged four to 16.
He said: “We are of one mind. We accept reluctantly that it has to get academy status.” He added: “You could bus children to some of the other schools and they could have a torrid time.
“There’s a community around that school which looks to that school.”
Headteacher Stewart Edgell, who took over in April, said they had put in a bid to the Department for Education for an academy, which would give the school the resources they needed for “drastic action”.
Mr Edgell, a former deputy headteacher at the Ridings School in Halifax, said they had a potential sponsor, which he could not name, but was working with other schools, including the new Archbishop Sentamu Academy in the city.
He added: “We have a recovery plan in place which is scheduled to deal with all the issues and have actions taking place by the end of February.”
John Readman, director of children’s services at Hull Council, said becoming an academy in its own right did not secure its future, and the Department for Education, when assessing the bid, would have to consider a range of options “not least numbers and popularity”.