Council boss considers closing down an Ashfield secondary school over ‘grave concerns’

Kirkby College
Kirkby College

A leading council boss has strongly criticised a secondary school in Ashfield, and said he would consider closing the school for good if he had the power.

Kirkby College, in Kirkby, is currently rated as inadequate by Ofsted. It received this rating in January and was put in ‘special measures’.

However a spokeswoman for the school said action was being taken to improve the school, and an Ofsted monitoring report from July said that: “Leaders and managers are taking effective action towards the removal of special measures.”

The full report in January found that: “This school requires special measures because it is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education and the persons responsible for leading, managing or governing the school are not demonstrating the capacity to secure the necessary improvement in the school.”

Councillor Philip Owen is the chairman of the Children and Young People’s Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council.

He was previously a teacher, and is currently a Chief Examiner for IGCSE and ‘A’ level qualifications.

Speaking at a meeting which discussed Ofsted reports from schools around the county, he said: “As far as Kirkby College is concerned, I have grave concerns.

“That school has been failing the people of Kirkby for many years, and I have to say, if I had the levers available to me I would be coming to you as the local member to say is this a school that we should as an authority consider closing."

Councillor Rachel Madden said: “It’s so alarming what is happening, and the rapidity that it goes up and down, it’s so concerning.”

Councillor Owen replied: “Well it doesn’t go up that much, it struggles above floor target for one year and then it just goes, and parents and young people, the vast majority of them are voting with their feet, they now have three other good schools in the area, at Ashfield School, Quarrydale and Sutton Community Academy has really pulled itself around, and I’m surprised that Kirkby College is getting any pupils at all, quite frankly.

“But that is the situation, I don’t have any levers really that I could pull, what I have got available to me I have done, and it really is in the hands of the regional schools commissioner.

“We had a meeting set up before the summer holidays with the chairman of the governing body there, and for some reason she pulled out at the last minute.

“So I think that tells you quite a lot.”

The acting headteacher of the school, Mark Golden, said: “During the recent section eight special measures monitoring visit which took place on July 4 and 5, the following judgements were made:

- The Trust Statement of Action is fit for purpose

- The Schools Improvement Plan is fit for purpose

“We have recently commissioned a full academy review undertaken by Diverse Academy Learning Partnerships, to ensure actions undertaken are having the desired impact.

“Prior to the summer holidays, I wrote to the local authority (Nottinghamshire County Council) inviting key local authority personnel and councillors in to school. They have yet to visit the school.

“The staff, students and parents at Kirkby College continue to work together to improve outcomes for its students.”

Kit Sandeman , Local Democracy Reporting Service