Bradford school placed in special measures

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A BRADFORD school where the council removed the governing body and replaced it with an interim executive board (IEB) last year has now gone into special measures.

Laisterdyke’s Business and Enterprise College’s former governors were replaced because of concerns about their “actions and effectiveness.”

However a new Ofsted report warns that the IEB which replaced them had not been effective in challenging the school about quality of teaching and performance of pupils.

The inspectors describe leadership, management and governance as weak. And the report says teachers do not consistently expect enough from pupils. However it does praise the school’s new interim principal for having “a clear and ambitious vision” to get the school back on track.

Laisterdyke was rated as inadequate overall and for its leadership and management, quality of teaching, learning and assessment and for the outcomes of its pupils. The personal development, welfare and behaviour of pupils and its 16-to-19 study programme were found to require improvement. The school is set to become an academy sponsored by the Tauheedul Academy Trust. Commenting on the report the IEB board said: “The Ofsted report recognises the positive impact of early intervention by interim school leaders. As governors we continue to work in partnership with the college, the local authority and colleagues from Immanuel College and the preferred academy sponsor, Tauheedul Academy Trust, to bring about rapid change and improvement for children at the college.” The school’s former governing body was removed last year after Bradford Council applied to the Government. At the time the school had been linked to the Trojan Horse row in Birmingham where a group of governors had been accused of pursuing an “Islamist” agenda. However both the council and the former governors denied any similar issues were affecting Laisterdyke.

It was reported last year there had been tension over the former Laisterdyke governing body’s plans to bring in Tahir Alam, then chairman of governors at Park View Academy to deliver training.

Park View was one of the schools at the heart of the Trojan Horse row.

However Bradford Council said the decision to remove the Laisterdyke’s governing body had not been linked to the issues faced in Birmingham.

The authority had applied to then Education Secretary Michael Gove to replace governors with an IEB citing serious concerns about the school governance.

Documents were then published which showed the former headteacher felt she had been undermined by some governors and believed there was an agenda to replace her. An Ofsted inspection at the time warned that actions of governors were “undermining the capacity of senior leaders” at Laisterdyke.

However Bradford Council then received a 1,622 petition calling for an independent inquiry into how and why it removed governors at the school.

An independent review was carried out which said that the council had been right to remove the governing body over concerns that its relationship with its leadership team had broken down.

The new Ofsted report notes that Laisterdyke is now receiving school-to-school support from another successful Bradford secondary: Immanuel College.

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford Council’s executive member for education, skills and culture, said: “We have already taken the decisive action required at Laisterdyke by putting in place strong school-to-school support. The Ofsted inspectors report early signs that the strong support from Immanuel College is having a positive effect. The organised transition to the proposed academy sponsor is now vital to make sure there is a unified approach to delivering the improvements everyone wants to see quickly.”