'Truancy' and 'low expectations' cause regret as top Nottingham school rated 'inadequate' by Ofsted

ITV Central Education Correspondent Peter Bearne visits Carlton-le-Willows Academy to discuss what prompted the rapid drop in Ofsted ratings for the secondary school

The future of one of Nottinghamshire's top-performing secondary schools is up in the air after it received an "inadequate" rating from Ofsted.

Since 2012, Carlton-le-Willows Academy in Gedling has consistently been rated "good" or "outstanding".

As recently as 2019, its exam results placed it in the top 20% of non-selective state schools in the country.

Inspectors visited the school in November and found, among other things:-

  • expectations of pupils were too low

  • concerns around the safeguarding of students accessing learning away from the classroom

  • truancy from lessons occurs daily, while the behaviour of some pupils in corridors and between lessons is causing worry for some other pupils. 

  • governors and trustees did not consistently meet their statutory responsibilities nor provide a level of rigorous accountability for leaders

The Ofsted judgement throws plans the school had to join a multi-academy trust into disarray.

The Board of Trustees had wanted to merge with East Midlands Educational Trust which runs around 20 schools in the region.

Since 2012, Carlton-le-Willows Academy in Gedling has consistently been rated 'good' or 'outstanding' Credit: ITV News Central

The proposal drew widespread criticism from parents, staff, governors and - at one point - even the then-headteacher Craig Weaver.

A petition against the merger gathered 1,500 signatures.

But, following the "inadequate" rating, the Department for Education (DfE) has told the Board to halt its plans.

Instead, the Department's own Regional Directors will take on the task of finding a new sponsor to take the school forward.

The school has gone through a period of significant change recently - Mr Weaver stepped down in the summer to be succeeded by the acting head, Rod Bond-Taylor.

In a statement, Mr Bond-Taylor said: "This Ofsted judgement is disappointing for the new senior leadership team at Carlton le Willows and the whole staff body.

"It will also be disappointing to our students and parents, a great many of whom are proud to attend Carlton le Willows Academy and achieve excellent exam results.

"Measures have been brought in immediately to address concerns. Most importantly the issue relating to the inadequate judgement was regarding students educated off-site.

Jon Garibaldi, the chair of the Board of Trustees, is facing calls to resign Credit: ITV News Central

"This was rectified within two days of the Ofsted visit and is now fully compliant."

He added: "Clearly there is work still to be done, but staff remain committed to working with parents/carers and achieving the very best outcomes for all students at Carlton le Willows.” 

Jon Garibaldi, the chair of the Board of Trustees, would not comment on his position, despite calls from some quarters for him to resign.

He said the Board would work with the DfE to find a new sponsor.

The DfE told ITV News Central: "If an academy is judged Inadequate, we make sure a plan is in place to secure rapid and sustained improvement in the best interests of pupils, which may include identifying a new academy trust to take on responsibility for the school.”

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