1. ITV Report

'This school remains in chaos': Ofsted's scathing review of Al-Madinah

Al-Madinah free school in Derby Photo: Rui Vieira/PA

A scathing report into progress at the heavily-criticised Al-Madinah free school in Derby has been released by Ofsted today.

In it, school inspector Wayne Norrie criticised leadership, professional tensions, and the "inadequate" quality of teaching, adding: "This school remains inchaos."

His key findings included:

  • There are no signs of improvement in the school
  • Insufficient action has been takento address the numerous failures in leadership and teaching
  • Theuncertainty around governance and leadership has contributed to the school beingless stable than it was at the time of the last inspection.
  • The school’s plans are not good enough; they lack clear targets and actions.
  • Teaching staff are not given clear messages about what has to be done.
  • Schoolleaders are not holding teachers to account for the quality of teaching, whichremains inadequate and, more worryingly, is not showing any signs of improving.
The school has been plagued by criticism, with members of the community calling for trustees to resign in October Credit: ITV News Central

He said one of the main problems at the school boiled down to poor relationships between school leaders at all levels, which was holding the school back from making any real improvement.

The school is not improving because relationships between school leaders, at alllevels, are destructive and deteriorating.

As a result there are tensions between thegoverning body and senior leadership team.

Members of the senior leadership teamdo not work together effectively; this has resulted in a lack of decisive leadership.

The interim principal is currently absent and governors have asked the willing, but inexperienced, vice principal to lead the school during this period of absence.

She does not, however, have the necessary knowledge and skills to ensure the school makes rapid progress.

– Wayne Norrie, Ofsted inspector

The report praises governors for their hard work in ensuring pupils at the school are now safe, but said they are so tied up in the day-to-day running of the school that they cannot monitor the work of school leaders effectively.

He also adds that the governors do not have the "necessary understanding,experience or expertise to make decisions about how the school should operate."

A sign on the school warned of the impending first Ofsted inspection in October, which found the school was "dysfunctional" Credit: Rui Vieira/PA

Mr Norrie's final judgements were:

  • The sponsor’s statement of action is not fit for purpose
  • The school’s improvement plan is not fit for purpose
  • Having considered all the evidence I strongly recommend that the school does notseek to appoint NQTs [newly qualified teachers].