Gloucestershire school threatened with closure over standards

A school in Gloucestershire will have its funding terminated unless it can produce an effective plan to pull itself out of special measures.

St Anthony’s School in the Forest of Dean has been in special measures since 2015, and an inspection just before Christmas found weak teaching, low expectations, and poor governance had not abated.

Now it has been issued with a pre-termination warning notice by Lisa Mannall, the regional schools commissioner for the south-west of England. She wrote to the school, demanding a post-inspection action plan with “clear milestone dates” as well as a raft of other information.

The letter, dated February 1 but published today, gave the school 15 days to respond.

Mannall asked for information on what the headteacher has done since joining the school last September, and what her plans are. She also wants a list of the skills of all governors and details of when they joined.

The commissioner also demanded a plan for how finances will be managed in future, after inspectors found there were “not sufficient resources to support teaching or to ensure that basic safety requirements are being adhered to” during their visit in December.

Ofsted said the school was a “picture of low aspiration”, poor financial management and lack of proper safeguarding procedures.

The curriculum was also “poorly designed” and “hampers, rather than helps, pupils’ achievement”. Chief inspector Amanda Spielman has made the quality of curriculums in schools a central part of her drive for school improvement.

However, Ofsted’s report did say the current headteacher had “made a determined start to tackle the many problems the school faces”.

Parents have launched an online petition to save the school.

According to Gloucestershire Live, Middleton only took over in September and, with parents, has accused the government of not doing enough to support the school.

The school has reportedly also asked why £750,000 was ploughed into a building refurbishment programme completed days before the learning it was facing closure.