Academy’s teaching ‘not good enough’, say inspectors

More improvements are needed at Glendene Arts Academy after it was placed in special measures.
More improvements are needed at Glendene Arts Academy after it was placed in special measures.

A school at the centre of controversy for more than a year is still not making enough progress say education bosses.

Glendene Arts Academy in Easington was placed in special measures in June last year and not enough has changed for this to be removed, say Ofsted inspectors.

However, there have been some significant improvements.

The school, which caters for pupils aged two to 19 with special educational needs, has also been at the centre of a serious fraud investigation for 14 months.

Last year, Ofsted placed the school in special measures due to a catalogue of failings, including being inadequate in all areas and student safeguarding issues which needed urgent attention.

Following the latest monitoring inspection, Ofsted inspectors said that although they felt the academy was not making enough progress towards the removal of special measures, the statement of action is fit for purpose.

They said: “While there is some progress in pupils’ and students’ achievement since the previous inspection, primarily in key literacy and numeracy skills, it is not yet fast enough to ensure that all achieve in line with their known ability.

“Senior leaders recognise that this underachievement is due to some teaching that is still not good enough.”

They said the academy is making some progress with the quality of teaching and the acting headteacher is continuing to identify accurately the strengths and weaknesses in teaching across the whole academy.

Inspectors said: “The academy has not made reasonable progress in relation to improving the safeguarding of all its pupils and students.

“There are inconsistencies in implementing all aspects of the safeguarding and behaviour policy. Some staff are not responding to inappropriate behaviour.”

Sunderland-based Ascent Trust, a multi-academy trust of special needs schools, stepped in a few months ago to help tackle the problems and Carolyn Barker, headteacher at Barbara Priestman Academy in Sunderland, is working as acting headteacher at the Easington school.

Inspectors said the quality of leadership and management of the academy is continuing to improve.

They said: “The academy’s action plan provides a suitable focus on the key areas for improvement. The acting headteacher continues to lead with authority and a sense of urgency to bring about the changes.”

n In April last year three people were arrested by Durham Police as part of a fraud investigation into the alleged misspending of £162,000.