Church of England academy faces termination over 'unacceptably low' standards

A Church of England academy in Lincolnshire faces having its funding withdrawn and being rebrokered to a new sponsor after Ofsted warned of “unacceptably low” standards.

The Lincoln Anglican academy trust has been issued with a termination warning notice for its school the William Lovell Church of England academy by the Department for Education.

It means that if the trust does not meet certain conditions, the secondary school will have its funding terminated and be re-brokered, leaving 14 schools under the trust’s sponsorship.

The school, which re-opened as an academy in 2012 but only taken over by the trust in 2015, was judged as ‘good’ in 2013. However in January this year, three years after the trust stepped in, Ofsted returned to judge it ‘inadequate’.

Teachers did not have high enough expectations of pupils and leaders hadn’t take swift action to improve pupil progress, including in maths, said inspectors.

The quality of teaching was ‘inadequate’, with work not being planned well enough and the most able pupils going unstretched.

In his letter to the trust, dated June 21 but only published today, John Edwards, regional schools commissioner for east midlands and the Humber, blasted the performance of pupils at William Lovell academy.

“The standards are…unacceptably low,” he wrote.

The academy fell below floor standards in both 2016 and 2017, scoring an increasingly worse score of -0.54 and then -0.62 respectively.

Meanwhile only 21 per cent of pupils achieved a grade 5 or above in English and maths GCSEs, well below the local authority average of 42.4 per cent.

Edwards added he had “concerns about the ability of the trust to deliver the required improvements in a rapid and sustained manner”.

The trust was given 21 days to present Edwards with written representations before he makes a final decision on funding. No further update has been given.

A spokesperson for Lincoln Anglican academy trust said it will continue to work with William Lovell governors and and the senior leadership team to “provide all of the support needed for the school as well as working with others for the very best future possible.”