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