'Inadequate' primary academy threatened with closure

An academy in the midlands rated ‘inadequate’ in its first inspection faces being rebrokered to a new sponsor.

Officials say they are “minded to terminate” funding for Kingfisher Academy, in Staffordshire, which received the lowest possible Ofsted rating after an inspection in September 2017.

Inspectors had warned of a “legacy of underachievement” and pupils lacking “basic skills” in maths.

Although a subsequent monitoring visit from Ofsted in June this year found that leaders and managers were taking “effective actions” to remove the school from the “serious weakness designation”, and that the school improvement plan and statement of action were fit for purpose, the trust has been warned the school could face closure unless further improvements are made.

The school was formerly known as the Belvedere Junior School, but joined the Burton and South Derbyshire Education Trust in October 2014. The 2017 inspection was its first since becoming an academy.

In a letter addressed to Dawn Ward, the principal and chief executive of Burton and South Derbyshire College and chief executive of the trust, regional schools commissioner for the west midlands Christine Quinn said she had been told by Ofsted that the academy was “judged to be inadequate and has serious weaknesses, meaning that the academy requires significant improvement”.

“I must be satisfied that the academy can achieve rapid and sustained improvement. If I am not satisfied this can be achieved, I will consider issuing a notice of termination,” she said.

The letter, which was sent on October 10 but only published online today, demanded a copy of the trust’s post-Ofsted action plan and information on education improvement by November 1.

Quinn also arranged a meeting between the RSC office and the chair and CEO of the trust on November 8.

A spokesperson for Burton and South Derbyshire Education Trust said: “The Kingfisher Academy’s latest Ofsted monitoring visit recognised the lasting improvements being made at the school and that we are making effective progress in the removal of the serious weaknesses designation.

“We are confident that the Department for Education will draw the same conclusion.”