Inspectors praise 'considerable improvements' at turnaround school, but slam sponsor for lack of support

Leaders of a school run by the doomed Education Fellowship Trust have been praised for “considerable improvements” which raised their Ofsted rating from ‘inadequate’ to ‘good’ in less than two years.

But the academy chain, which is in the process of giving up all of its schools, faced stinging criticism from inspectors for failing to support the Wrenn School or hold its leaders to account during this period of improvement.

The academy, in Wellingborough, was rated ‘good’ across the board after an inspection in May. In the report, not yet published but seen by Schools Week, inspectors lavished praise on the school’s leaders, while admonishing the trust for its inaction.

This is the reward for the hard work, dedication, passion and belief in our values

The future of school, which was warned early last year that it faced closure over its performance, is now “secure”, according to principal Steve Elliott. It will join a new sponsor, the Creative Education Trust, this summer.

It follows a tumultuous two years for the Northamptonshire school , which was issued with a termination warning notice last January following its ‘inadequate’ in October 2016.

The government soon announced that all 12 schools run by the Education Fellowship Trust (TEFT) would be rebrokered to new sponsors.

Despite the upheaval, pupils now make good progress and feel “valued and extremely well supported”. Behaviour is good and pastoral care is “strong”.

However, the “considerable improvements” in all areas of the school are the result of the hard work and dedication of leaders and staff, rather than the actions of TEFT, which has not provided “effective support or challenge”.

Leaders take “swift and effective action” to tackle areas needing improvement, and were committed to ensuring” continued and sustained improvements to the school”.

The academy’s advisory board, which has “filled the gap in governance left by TEFT”, has provided “effective support and challenge” to leaders.

In a letter to parents, Elliott said the improvement was “testimony to the brilliant staff, students, governors and parents that we have at Wrenn”.

“This is the reward for the hard work, dedication, passion and belief in our values. All our stakeholders have played their part, it has been a huge team effort.

“Not only is the future of Wrenn School secure, with the support from the new sponsors at Creative Education Trust Wrenn School will continue to thrive. As you read the overwhelming positive comments you will see that there are still a couple of areas for improvement and we will continue to make sure that every student should have access to an outstanding education in a safe and caring environment,” he added.

“We will raise further the aspirations, expectations and values of every student and member of staff. This will remain our priority over the next four years.”

A spokesperson for the Education Fellowship Trust said: “The trust and the evidence does not support the finding of the Ofsted report.”