PM steps in after Witney's Wood Green School put in special measures

Witney Gazette: David Cameron David Cameron

PRIME Minister and Witney MP David Cameron is set to meet the headteacher of Wood Green School after it was put into special measures by Ofsted.

Mr Cameron said he was “concerned” to hear about the situation at the Witney secondary school, which was rated “outstanding” by inspectors just three years ago.

Headteacher Rob Shadbolt said the school, which has 1,100 pupils, was now looking at ways to work with the town’s Henry Box School, which became an academy in June last year, and primary schools to improve pupils’ performance.

He said any proposals would look to “strengthen” partnerships, although what that may entail has not yet been confirmed.

One measure schools are now encouraged to take when they are in such situations as Wood Green is to become an academy through sponsored status.

This would see support from an independent organisation, or another high-performing academy school, to turn results around.

A report leaked on Monday revealed that the Department for Education wanted to turn more schools in Oxfordshire into academies.

Mr Shadbolt, who became headteacher at Wood Green in April, said: “I believe the best way for schools to improve is for groups of schools to work together and challenge and support each other.

“The schools in Witney are considering ways in which we can do this and we’re pleased to be meeting Mr Cameron to discuss our vision for education in Witney.”

He added: “I’m determined to find the best solution for Wood Green School and Witney.”

The school was put into special measures after a decline in GCSE exam results since 2010.

Ofsted inspectors who visited the school last month said that “in English and mathematics, students make less progress than other students nationally”.

Their report said that in maths, progress for more able students had declined and for lower-attaining students and those on the pupil premium, from poorer families, it had declined significantly.

Mr Cameron said: “I was concerned to hear about Wood Green School’s recent Ofsted report.

“I’m due to meet Rob Shadbolt to discuss the school’s future and I feel sure that both he and the staff will now want to work quickly to make the improvements needed.”

Henry Box headteacher Wendy Hemmingsley said: “The school is always keen to share good practice and learn from other schools and teaching colleagues.

“Earlier this month, over 40 teachers from Wood Green and Henry Box gathered together, voluntarily, to share teaching ideas.

“It was an inspiring event which we will be repeating, on a grander scale, in the new year.

“Sometimes schools have well developed links with international schools but not with their local ones.

“It makes sense for local schools to work together, to share good practice and ideas, to challenge and support each other and, ultimately, to raise achievement for all students.”

Comments (7)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:37am Wed 27 Nov 13

Sandy Wimpole-Smythe says...

Maybe. Mr Cameron, you should be looking at your education policies and the fact that teachers are so tied up with changes to this and changes to that it means they have very little time to actually teach.
Maybe. Mr Cameron, you should be looking at your education policies and the fact that teachers are so tied up with changes to this and changes to that it means they have very little time to actually teach. Sandy Wimpole-Smythe
  • Score: -52

3:31pm Wed 27 Nov 13

King Joke says...

Schools in special measures can get mandated to become academies. Some previously successful schools get put into special measures. THe DfE wants more schools to become academies.

The coincidence really is quite remarkable!
Schools in special measures can get mandated to become academies. Some previously successful schools get put into special measures. THe DfE wants more schools to become academies. The coincidence really is quite remarkable! King Joke
  • Score: 16

9:27am Fri 29 Nov 13

Moverandshaker says...

"My predecessor was coming to the end of her career and it is not unusual when there is a handover that the outgoing head doesn’t implement a lot of change, to allow the new headteacher the freedom to do that.”
-- surely this is not a justification?
"My predecessor was coming to the end of her career and it is not unusual when there is a handover that the outgoing head doesn’t implement a lot of change, to allow the new headteacher the freedom to do that.” -- surely this is not a justification? Moverandshaker
  • Score: -8

9:48am Fri 29 Nov 13

King Joke says...

Yes Mover - much better to come in and introduce a raft of new procedures, and policies, to be seen to be making changes. THat will motivate staff and release loads more time for teaching and preparation. After all nobody likes being left alone to do their job.
Yes Mover - much better to come in and introduce a raft of new procedures, and policies, to be seen to be making changes. THat will motivate staff and release loads more time for teaching and preparation. After all nobody likes being left alone to do their job. King Joke
  • Score: 4

6:58pm Sat 30 Nov 13

Edumuse says...

What exactly a posh boy from Eton can tell an experienced teacher like Mr Shadbolt I have to wonder. The necessary changes were already in place when ofsted arrived, I have seen this as I have a child at the school and Mr Shadbolt has made a great effort to consult with parents since he took up his post. I fear that if Wood Green is turned into a sponsored academy many of the things we value most at this school could disappear and students will lose out as a result.
Incidentally the lead inspector is from Tribal a firm that has not exactly covered itself with glory recently - there are many examples of heavy handed inspection reports doing more harm than good. She is Mary Myatt who also makes money running "expecting ofsted" courses at £225 a time, most people would see this as a conflict of interests, but not as far as I know ofsted.
What exactly a posh boy from Eton can tell an experienced teacher like Mr Shadbolt I have to wonder. The necessary changes were already in place when ofsted arrived, I have seen this as I have a child at the school and Mr Shadbolt has made a great effort to consult with parents since he took up his post. I fear that if Wood Green is turned into a sponsored academy many of the things we value most at this school could disappear and students will lose out as a result. Incidentally the lead inspector is from Tribal a firm that has not exactly covered itself with glory recently - there are many examples of heavy handed inspection reports doing more harm than good. She is Mary Myatt who also makes money running "expecting ofsted" courses at £225 a time, most people would see this as a conflict of interests, but not as far as I know ofsted. Edumuse
  • Score: 7

9:28am Mon 2 Dec 13

RuralResident says...

King Joke wrote:
Yes Mover - much better to come in and introduce a raft of new procedures, and policies, to be seen to be making changes. THat will motivate staff and release loads more time for teaching and preparation. After all nobody likes being left alone to do their job.
I presume that this is mendacious, not a serious comment?
[quote][p][bold]King Joke[/bold] wrote: Yes Mover - much better to come in and introduce a raft of new procedures, and policies, to be seen to be making changes. THat will motivate staff and release loads more time for teaching and preparation. After all nobody likes being left alone to do their job.[/p][/quote]I presume that this is mendacious, not a serious comment? RuralResident
  • Score: -1

9:36am Mon 2 Dec 13

RuralResident says...

Edumuse wrote:
What exactly a posh boy from Eton can tell an experienced teacher like Mr Shadbolt I have to wonder. The necessary changes were already in place when ofsted arrived, I have seen this as I have a child at the school and Mr Shadbolt has made a great effort to consult with parents since he took up his post. I fear that if Wood Green is turned into a sponsored academy many of the things we value most at this school could disappear and students will lose out as a result.
Incidentally the lead inspector is from Tribal a firm that has not exactly covered itself with glory recently - there are many examples of heavy handed inspection reports doing more harm than good. She is Mary Myatt who also makes money running "expecting ofsted" courses at £225 a time, most people would see this as a conflict of interests, but not as far as I know ofsted.
I doubt whether the PM will tell the Head what to do. Surely it is perfectly in order for an MP to respond in this way.
Forget the 'posh boy' sneer - it adds nothing to the debate.
As for the new Head's diplomatic explanation for his predecessor's neglect, it would not have served his cause to be openly critical.
[quote][p][bold]Edumuse[/bold] wrote: What exactly a posh boy from Eton can tell an experienced teacher like Mr Shadbolt I have to wonder. The necessary changes were already in place when ofsted arrived, I have seen this as I have a child at the school and Mr Shadbolt has made a great effort to consult with parents since he took up his post. I fear that if Wood Green is turned into a sponsored academy many of the things we value most at this school could disappear and students will lose out as a result. Incidentally the lead inspector is from Tribal a firm that has not exactly covered itself with glory recently - there are many examples of heavy handed inspection reports doing more harm than good. She is Mary Myatt who also makes money running "expecting ofsted" courses at £225 a time, most people would see this as a conflict of interests, but not as far as I know ofsted.[/p][/quote]I doubt whether the PM will tell the Head what to do. Surely it is perfectly in order for an MP to respond in this way. Forget the 'posh boy' sneer - it adds nothing to the debate. As for the new Head's diplomatic explanation for his predecessor's neglect, it would not have served his cause to be openly critical. RuralResident
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree