Sunderland's Monkwearmouth Academy apologises to parents and students after inadequate Ofsted inspection sees it put into special measures

A Sunderland school has apologised to parents and pupils after being placed into special measures following a damning report.

Tuesday, 2nd April 2019, 2:04 pm
Updated Tuesday, 2nd April 2019, 2:19 pm
Monkwearmouth Academy has been put into special measures

Monkwearmouth Academy has been rated 'inadequate' by Ofsted inspectors following their latest visit.

Leaders and governors have been slammed for the lack of accountability surrounding the poor progress of pupils as inspectors found teachers expect 'far too little' of students who underachieve 'considerably'.

The school has now 'apologised unreservedly' to parents and students and says the community 'deserves a school that can be relied upon'

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The publication of the damning report comes after executive headteacher Steve Wilkinson retired from his role last month following 12 years at the helm.

Wearmouth Learning Trust, which currently manages the school, is also in discussions to see if Tyne Coast Academy Trust will take over the running of both Monkwearmouth Academy and Redby Primary Academy .

Monkwearmouth Academy received the lowest rating in effectiveness of leadership and management; quality of teaching, learning and assessment; and outcomes for pupils and rated 'requires improvement' in personal development, behaviour and welfare.

Her Majesty's chief inspector now says the school requires special measures because it is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and that the leaders and governors are not demonstrating the capacity to secure the necessary improvement in the school.

Since then, there has been a significant decline in the progress made by all groups of pupils - particularly the most able and those who are disadvantaged.

The report says that there is a lack of accountability throughout the school and leaders didn't act to prevent a serious decline in the standards in English.

Leaders also failed to improve standards in mathematics and have overseen a sharp decline in science standards since the last inspection, which was rated 'requires improvement' in October 2016.

Governors acted too slowly to prevent the decline in the quality of education and inspectors have recommended that the school does not appoint newly qualified teachers.

The quality of teaching has also been slammed by inspectors who say teachers at the Torver Crescent school expect far too little of pupils and are too easily satisfied by weak and superficial answers.

The report, which was published by Ofsted's website this morning, says: "As a result of poor teaching over time, pupils are not well prepared for their GCSE examinations at the end of key stage 4. Too many underachieve. They are not well prepared for their next steps in education, employment or training."

Inspectors also found that over time pupils underachieve 'considerably' and progress made by Year 11 pupils overall in English, maths, science and humanities last year was significantly below the national average.

Furthermore the progress made by the most able pupils, disadvantaged pupils and pupils with low prior attainment was in the lowest 10% of the country in 2018.

A spokesperson for Wearmouth Learning Trust said: “We apologise unreservedly to parents and students of the school. This community deserves a school that can be relied upon to ensure its young people are given every chance to reach their full educational potential.

“It must now be our primary focus to take steps to correct Ofsted’s findings and deliver quality teaching and learning to our students.

“We have had emails and phone calls of support from parents – past and present – for which we are extremely grateful.

“Next steps for us will include the implementation of a rapid improvement plan, elements of which we are already rolling out, including a new set of values for the school, a home/school agreement policy and a new behavioural strategy.

“We are currently in consultation with Tyne Coast Academy Trust to become part of their region wide trust, supporting education from primary school to further education. They remain extremely supportive at this difficult time.

“We have held consultation meetings for parents and stakeholders and will continue to ensure relevant parties are kept up to date with all matters relating to these plans in due course.”

The school was praised for its safeguarding which has been classed as 'effective' and says recent improvements in staff professional development are beginning to bear fruit with some teaching improving.