Failing Goole academy ‘should be returned to council’

AN “academy of excellence” which was placed in special measures should go back to local authority control, according to a local councillor.

Goole High School co-Headteachers Danuta Tomasz and Dave Flowitt.

Goole town councillor Keith Moore says the governing body at Goole High School Academy of Excellence should seriously consider a “return to the fold” after the latest inspection results made it the only school in the East Riding to be placed in the failing category.

The school is an academy which means it is run independent from the local council.

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The damning Ofsted report last week was the school’s first since it became an academy in 2011.

Coun Moore said if it was a football team “the club’s manager would be sacked”. The school was previously rated satisfactory prior to the recent Ofsted inspection.

He voiced fears there will be a “mass exodus” of pupils to schools at Howden, Carlton and Snaith.

The highly critical report by Ofsted found the school to be inadequate in each of several key areas: achievement of pupils, quality of teaching, behaviour and safety of pupils and leadership and management.

The school’s co head teachers, Dave Flowitt and Danuta Tomasz, hit back saying the academy had become the latest victim of a brutal inspection regime.

They insisted the school was now better than when it was when Ofsted had rated it as being good.

However, Coun Moore, who represents Goole North for Labour, has voiced his concerns.

He said: “They should be seriously considering abandoning the experiment and going back to local authority control. If you look at the results before they became an academy and after the governing body should be having a look at it.

“If it was a football club the manager would be sacked. This is the only school in the East Riding in special measures.

“It is a terrible result for the kids, the staff and parents. The stigma takes a long time to go away.

“We are likely to see a mass exodus of parents wanting to take their children to other schools. The schools improvement service (at the East Riding Council) has been asking the school of they wanted them to intervene and help but they said no.”

East Riding Council said it had “regularly offered help” after the school converted in 2011.

It said: “The council regularly offered help to guide the academy following the conversion. The change in relationship between the local authority and the academy means that, despite the comprehensive offer of support, the academy has the choice as to whether or not it chooses to accept that support.

“It chose not to accept the offer. The council remains keen to work alongside other partners to achieve a rapid turnaround following this latest inspection.”

Kevin Hall, East Riding Council’s director of children, families and schools, said: “The council is firmly committed to all state-funded primary and secondary schools in the East Riding becoming good or outstanding within three years, as part of its ‘improving schools – improving lives strategy’.

“It is two years since any school in the East Riding was judged to be inadequate and the council is keen to work with the academy in moving forward rapidly to improve the outcomes for its students.”

Ms Tomasz said: “The staff and governors at Goole High school do not want to get drawn into a political debate about the status of the school. We are anxious that nothing gets in the way of our improvement programme and we want to focus our energies on our students and their achievements.

“That is our job and that is what drives us.

“We have always worked closely with our local authority and will continue to do so.

“To think otherwise is a myth. At our request we had a monitoring visit undertaken at the school by 4 of the senior advisers just months before the Ofsted team came in and have records of that visit.

“We have enjoyed attending meetings with the East Riding councillors at their offices in Beverley and have welcomed them into our school. We look forward to further working with them and are expecting a visit from Mr Hall.”