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Ofsted report is highly critical of Kent free school

The Ofsted report is highly critical in many areas Credit: Inspire

The Inspire Free School in Kent, looking after vulnerable and troubled students, has received a highly critical report from Ofsted.

Leadership at all levels is inadequate. The Principal and other leaders have not secured effective provision in key areas, such as the quality of teaching and pupils’ personal development and welfare.

Leaders’ evaluations of the school’s effectiveness are much too generous because leaders’ checks on provision have not been maintained. Their management of staff performance is ineffective.

Senior leaders’ effectiveness has diminished because of the absence of staff in key positions.This means that the headteacher has no support to stop or tackle the recent decline in standards.

Governors have been too slow to secure adequate support for the school. This means that leaders have not been able to make the significant changes needed. The leadership of teaching and learning is, therefore, ineffective. In too many lessons, pupils are insufficiently engaged because work is not challenging or interesting enough.

Pupils have poor attitudes to their learning. The curriculum is not developed well enough to cater for the different needs of pupils. Rates of attendance are too low and show little sign of improvement. Exclusions are much higher than is typical and are increasing.

The quality of teaching is inadequate. Teachers’ expectations of pupils are too low. Teachers do not ensure that pupils receive the level of challenge they need to make suitable progress in their learning, particularly in English.

Pupils’ reading and writing skills are poorly developed and, in many cases, pupils do not see the value of reading. Pupils’ outcomes are too low.The legacy of underachievement and low expectations has not been sufficiently addressed.

Key groups of pupils, including the most-able and disadvantaged pupils, underachieve. Provision in the sixth form is inadequate because the curriculum does not meet learners’ needs.

The use of additional adults is a relative strength and helps to improve pupils’ attitudes to learning.

– Ofsted

We are clearly disappointed with the findings of the Ofsted inspection which took place as the school was preparing to move to a new sponsor as we, and our governing body, had already identified that we needed extra support.

We must point out that the school had a very successful year after opening in 2014. We are very proud of the work we do with some of Medway’s most vulnerable children and, as Ofsted notes, staff care about the students and our arrangements for safeguarding are effective.

The school is already acting to address Ofsted’s finding and,even though the school does not transfer to its new sponsor until April, we have been working with them since the inspection.

The school and its governors have a shared confidence that we will soon be in a very different place now we have support, and as our children get access to the specialist services they need from our new sponsor.

– Inspire School


Organisations to take over running of Southampton libraries

New community groups will help to run libraries Credit: ITV

The futures of five Southampton community libraries have been announced by Southampton City Council. The list of organisations set to take over the running of some of the city’s libraries is made up of a mix of long established organisations and newly-formed community groups, all dedicated to offering good local community involvement and support.

The following groups will soon take over the running of the following libraries:

The Burgess Road Library Action Group (in partnership with Christ Church Southampton, a locally based charity) will provide library services from Burgess Road Library.

Thornhill Community Library, a newly formed local charity group, will continue to provide library services from Thornhill Library.

The YMCA, a local community charity that has been serving the city since 1878, will provide a community library in the new unit when it is completed in Weston. In the meantime services will continue from the portable building.

SCA and Unexpected Places, two not for profit organisations in partnership with the Friends of Cobbett Road Library, are teaming up to continue to offer library facilities from Cobbett Road Library.

In Millbrook, the library resources will be moved into the Solent NHS Trust Pickles Coppice Children’s Centre where the Sure Start Service is based.

Parents and carers can look out for signs of abuse

Parents and carers can learn how to look out for signs of exploitation Credit: Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

Protecting Berkshire's children and young people from child sexual exploitation will be the focus of an awareness day.

For today's annual national CSE Awareness Day, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead is running a pop-up shop in Maidenhead's Nicholsons Centre.

Parents and carers can learn tips about protecting their children from online exploitation and find out about CSE awareness training.

Football club looking for new signings

Great Oaks School football club is looking for more signings Credit: ITV News Meridian

A new football club with only eight players is looking for more signings so it can compete against other teams - but they must be a young person with Downs Syndrome.

The group, at Great Oaks School in Southampton, is thought to be the first of its kind in Hampshire. It is being run by the Saints Foundation, the charity arm of Southampton Football Club.

Their call for more players coincides with Down's Syndrome Awareness Week from 20th - 26th March.

  1. Christine Alsford

Reaction to plans to make ALL schools academies

Chancellor George Osborne has announced the biggest overhaul in education in more than a century. Secondary schools will finish an hour later and every school will become an academy

It means in Hampshire - excluding Southampton and Portsmouth - that 439 schools will need to change - 47 are already academies.

Across Wiltshire, there are more than a 70 academies but 164 will still need to adapt.

And in West Sussex, there are already 52, so 177 of their state schools will need to switch by 2020.

Social affairs correspondent Christine Alsford reports.


Biggest overhaul of education for more than a century

A new sugar tax. and more investment in flood defences were announced in today's Budget. But the big story is something that doesn't involve pennies or percentages - it's a proposal which could affects our children and future generations.

Chancellor George Osborne has announced the biggest overhaul in education in more than a century. Secondary schools will finish an hour later - an idea which has divided opinion - and every school will become an Academy.

  1. National

New sugar levy on the soft drinks industry announced

A new sugar levy on the soft drinks industry will be introduced, the Chancellor said.

It will be introduced in two years time to ensure companies reduce the sugar content of drinks and promote low sugar brands.

He said it was a "perfectly reasonable step" to protect children's health.

"Money from this new [sugar] levy will be used to double the funding we dedicate to sport in every primary school," Mr Osborne said.

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