Almost half of the secondary school academies in Mansfield and Ashfield have failed to make the grade in the last three years, shocking figures have shown.
Following the news that Manor Academy in Mansfield Woodhouse has been dropped into special measures for a second time, details from school inspectors show they are not alone.
Since 2013, six of the 14 schools in the region have either been told they “require improvement” by education watchdog Ofsted, or worse still, have scored the lowest mark of “inadequate”, meaning they are put into special measures and in need of urgent help.
All of the schools criticised by Ofsted have been academised, meaning they are funded directly through the Department for Education, rather than Nottinghamshire County Council, which no longer has any input to the school.
Only one of the 14 schools in the area is still under county council control, with the rest being run independently.
The move has led to major concern among council leaders.
Councillor John Peck, chairman of the council’s children and young people committee, said: “All we can do is express our concerns, and we have some really serious issues.
“We have got a really good record with our primary schools that are either good or outstanding, but for the secondary schools all we can do is write to them and say ‘what are you doing about this’.
“It’s extremely frustrating from our point of view.”
Only Garibaldi College in Forest Town is still under council control, and has received a “satisfactory’” then a “good” rating during its last two visits.
With Manor Academy in serious trouble, less than three miles away is Queen Elizabeth’s Academy, which has fallen short during its last two inspections and was told required special measures on both occasions.
During its last inspection in 2014, The Dukeries Academy in New Ollerton was told it required improvement, while Samworth Academy on Mansfield’s Sherwood Hall Road was also told the same during a 2013 inspection, but was then able to achieve a “good” rating following its last inspection in 2015.
The schools in the Ashfield area have fared better, with none being plunged into special measures in recent years.
However, Sutton Academy was told it “required improvement” after it’s last inspection.
Kirkby College was the same in 2013, but pulled out a “good” rating last year.
Meanwhile, others to have land “good” ratings in recent years include Meden School in Warsop, Brunts Academy in Mansfield and Rainworth’s Joseph Whitaker.
Marion Clay, service director for education standards at the county council said: “The responsibility to drive up standards in academies lies with the academy, the sponsor, the regional schools commissioner and ultimately the Department for Education.
“Therefore, the director of children’s services, Colin Pettigrew, Coun Peck, and I met with two commissioners to raise our concerns about those academies in Nottinghamshire that are under-performing, seeking to better understand the actions being taken by both commissioners to accelerate improvement in under-performing academies in Nottinghamshire.
“Coun Peck strongly challenged both commissioners, about Queen Elizabeth’s and Manor Academies, stating young people and families in the Mansfield area deserved every school to be at least good.”
Meanwhile, the leading teachers’ trade union – the National Union of Teachers – has also raised its concerns over the running of academies in general.
Liam Conway, division secretary for Nottinghamshire branch of the NUT, said: “The council is powerless, it has no enforcing policy.
“When you discuss matters with the local authorities, they can openly say there’s real problems that need addressing.
“Even then, it can take a long time to resolve.
“With academies, it’s much more difficult.
“When things go wrong, all the management do is put more and more pressure on the staff and it causes a lot of stress.”