Academy that removed pupils ‘without good reason’ branded ‘inadequate’

A Nottingham academy that removed pupils from its roll “without good reason” has been branded ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted.

Hall Park Academy, part of the Redhill Academy Trust, has been downgraded from ‘good’ after Ofsted found leaders’ decisions to remove pupils were not made in their best interests.

We feel that this part of the new framework is grossly unfair

However, the school has disputed Ofsted’s decision and claimed it is being “punished on a technicality” under the watchdog’s new framework.

In the report, which was published this week, inspectors found the school had “let down some pupils who attend alternative provision” and “leaders have removed some of these pupils from the school’s roll without good reason”.

The report said leaders did not have “convincing explanations as to why pupils had been removed from the roll” when asked by inspectors how the move to alternative provision was in the pupil’s “best interests”.

The findings come as Ofsted is seeking to investigate unexplained pupil exits from schools and clamp down on the practice of off-rolling.

The watchdog defines off-rolling as the removal of a pupil from a school’s roll without a permanent exclusion and when the removal is primarily in the best interests of the school, rather than the pupil.

In Hall Park’s case, inspectors found that pupils who attend alternative provision “are not able to enjoy the school’s many benefits”.

“In removing these pupils from the school’s roll, leaders have not always acted in pupils’ best interests.”

However, Redhill Academy Trust insisted Ofsted had found no evidence of off-rolling at the school.

The watchdog admitted that “some pupils” attending alternative provision were “doing well”, with their progress and attendance monitored.

But this was not the case for all of them, and governors have “not held leaders to account for their use of alternative provision”, Ofsted said.

The school earned a ‘good’ rating in all areas apart from leadership and management – where it was rated ‘inadequate’.

Executive headteacher Stephanie Dyce said the school had been “punished on a technicality” under the new framework “which now puts the onus on schools to keep detailed records of former pupils who are transferred to alternative provision”.

Dyce, who said she was “deeply disappointed” with the report, added: “We only ever find alternative provision for pupils as a last resort and I dispute Ofsted’s remarks that we have let them down.”

The school has “always kept in close contact with the alternative provider”, she added, with the only alternative for “challenging” students who “disrupt the education of others” to permanent exclude, which they “avoid at all costs”.

Kevin Edwards, chair of the school’s governing body, said consequences of the finding mean more pupils may now be excluded. “Legally, we are not responsible for these students once they are officially off-roll although we regard our ethical duty to liaise closely with the new alternative education providers.”

He added: “The whole school community is in shock by the report and we feel that this part of the new framework is grossly unfair to us and all secondary schools who have the welfare of all our students at heart.”

Analysis by the inspectorate released last year found the number of schools with “exceptional” levels of pupil movement had risen by 13 per cent in just one year.

Hall Park’s report also highlighted that the school currently offers a two-year key stage 3, but noted that leaders were “reviewing whether this model allows all pupils to achieve as well as possible”.

Schools Week has previously reported on how the watchdog has criticised schools for running such a system under its new inspection framework, despite claiming not to have a preference.

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  1. Stephen Somerfield

    As a parent I am not at all happy that a school which the inspectors themselves said was a good school where the pupils work hard achieve and are happy should be deemed inadequate because of the shortcomings of another institution over which the leadership of Hall Park had limited control. Given the shambles we have witnessed in Westminster and Whitehall over the past 3 years I feel obliged to point out the arrogance of those who live in glass houses casting stones. This is a flawed conclusion by Ofsted labelling a school inadequate over its supposed failure to monitor the progress of a handful of pupils who had been entrusted to an alternative provider so that hard working pupils could get on with their education unhampered by a small vociferous minority bent on disrupting their efforts. It is interesting that the head of Ofsted chooses to label her critics a small vociferous minority that she intends to ignore. It is so much more difficult for pupils in a secondary school class to do the same.

  2. Sharon Smith

    As a parent of a past pupil I think it is a very harsh Ofstead report bearing in mind that when Redhill Academy Trust took over Eastwood Comprehensive in July 2014, it was failing badly in all areas of the school! My daughter had just taken her options and was heading into year 10, and unless you were a high flyer academically or an unruly or naughty pupil you were left to wander. It didn’t matter if you turned up every day with the correct uniform and behaved the old regime were not bothered! Redhill Academy were a breath of fresh air, they cleared out the bad eggs and made sure every pupil mattered. They brought discipline back to the school which resulted in actions had consequences and behaviour was good. The biggest turnaround was the standard of Education, learning was fun and interesting again, twilight lessons where introduced for the pupils in years 10 and 11 to help them achieve the best in their exams .
    In the summer of 2016 Hall Park Academy had the best exam results in years and my daughter would have not got the results she had if it had not been for The Redhill Academy Trust taking over the failing Eastwood Comprehensive , so let’s think of all the good they have done for the children of Eastwood . Again it is a small minority of pupils and parents who are not willing to believe they maybe in the wrong and take responsibility for their actions but instead blame the school!