‘Inadequate’ school damned as governors ‘failed’

A TRUST given the running of a school deemed ‘inadequate’ by Oftsed inspectors has vowed to turn it around.

Samuel Laycock, which draws pupils from across Tameside, was slammed in its most recent report, both for teachers’ expectations and governors’ scrutiny.

Tellingly, it says: “The expectations that leaders and staff set for pupils are too low.

“The continuing turbulence in staff, including in the leadership team, has led to a lack of focus in the development of the curriculum. It reinforces leaders’ and staff’s low expectations.

Samuel Laycock School in Ashton, Tameside. Photo Google Maps

“Governors have failed in their duties to hold leaders to account for school improvement.

“They have neglected to check on the quality of the education in the school. The curriculum for reading is not fit for purpose.”

Samuel Laycock, on Broadoak Road in Ashton, describes itself as aiming to, ‘provide a specialist, high quality, relevant and balanced education for students aged 11-16 who have moderate learning difficulties.

“We also tailor the learning experiences for individual students’ social and emotional development.

“Additionally, the school has a specialist base for students on the autistic spectrum, where students are taught by specialist staff.”

But this latest Ofsted report, which concludes newly qualified teachers cannot be appointed until the next inspection, lays bare its failings.

It adds: “The curriculum in key stage three and key stage four does not set high enough expectations for pupils’ learning, including in reading.

“As a result, pupils are not able to achieve as well as they should.

“Governors do not have an accurate understanding of the school’s effectiveness. Leaders and governors should work rapidly to improve the quality of governance.”

The running of Samuel Laycock has incorporated the New Bridge Trust, which also operates The Hawthorns in Audenshaw, since January.

And the report offers some encouragement by saying: “The support that the local authority has put in place from New Bridge Multi-Academy Trust is starting to breathe life back into the school.”

A spokesman for Samuel Laycock said that move, as well as extra governors being brought in, will bring the facility back to standard.

They said: “Ofsted judged many aspects as ‘Good’, including ‘Behaviour and Attitudes’ and ‘Personal Development.’

“‘Safeguarding’ was judged to be effective with pupils telling inspectors that they felt safe because of the care that staff provide.

“However, the ‘Overall Effectiveness’ of the school has been judged as ‘Inadequate.’ We understand that this will be of concern to parents and the school community.

“Steps have been in place for some time which address the inspectors’ findings, including new additional governors and brokering the New Bridge Trust – a highly successful multi-academy trust – which has been supporting the school with improvements since January.

“The overall judgement means that the Secretary of State for Education must make an academy order and that Samuel Laycock will become a sponsored academy in the New Bridge Trust, which will ensure that the good progress already made can continue uninterrupted and ensure that the relationship with Hawthorns Primary Special School will grow stronger delivering a seamless education offer for our families.

“We will be working with Tameside Council and the Department for Education closely on this process as we together strive to provide the best education for pupils. The school will be keeping parents informed of progress.”

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