Exclusive: Academy chain says outstanding rated South Yorkshire primary is actually ‘inadequate’

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AN ACADEMY chain has told parents that a South Yorkshire primary school which is rated as outstanding by Ofsted has been found to be inadequate by an independent inspection team commissioned by the trust.

The Hill Primary Academy, in Thurnscoe, was one of the first schools to join Reach4 earlier this year - a new academy chain set up to help raise standards in the North of England.

It commissioned an independent inspection of the Hill Primary which mirrored the way Ofsted assesses schools - because of its concerns after taking over the academy.

The inspection has rated the school as being inadequate in all key inspection areas.

A new interim headteacher has been appointed and the governing body has been replaced by Reach4 as a result of the inspection’s findings.

Reach4 is a sister trust of Reach2 an established trust which sponsors schools around the country. It was one of five academy sponsors which was given extra funding by the Department for Education to raise standards in the North of England by taking on more schools.

Hill Primary was rated as outstanding when it was last inspected by Ofsted in 2010.

It was one of four schools previously run by Navigate Academies Trust which joined Reach4 in January, this year.

Libby Nicholas, the chief executive officer of Reach4 said: “It is clear from this deeply disappointing report that The Hill has been seriously letting down its pupils and parents for too long. “What is particularly concerning is that Ofsted rated the school as outstanding back in 2010.

“This shows just how things can go so badly wrong in such a short period of time.

“At Reach4 we will simply not accept this level of poor education. Children get one chance with their education and we are determined to fix the problems that are so apparent at The Hill.

“That work is now under way, and we are confident that the measures we are putting in place will transform The Hill and deliver on our promise of “inspiration beyond measure”. The trust said it had made a series of changes since taking over at the school.

David Tingle, a Reach4 executive headteacher, has taken up post as interim executive principal. Reach4 said he would provide “immediate additional support to the leadership team and staff.” The academy trust said there would also be a programme of training for existing teaching staff to improve the quality of classroom teaching;

The chain said that new staff have been appointed for the new academic year so the school would no longer be relying on supply staff to cover core lessons.

Other measures taken by the trust include the creation of a new transition board to take on governance of the school.

A statement from Reach4 added: “A full review of safeguarding has been completed and new processes and practice are being put in place.

“Full reviews of special educational needs and how pupil premium money is spent have been commissioned.”

The Hill Primary was one of four schools which joined Reach4 along with Carrfield Primary Academy, Highgate Primary Academy and Gooseacre Primary Academy, which are all in the Dearne Valley in South Yorkshire. Reach4 now has 12 schools in South Yorkshire.