Mansfield’s Queen Elizabeth School to push for academy status

MANSFIELD’S Queen Elizabeth’s School is pressing ahead with plans to become an academy despite a critical Ofsted report.

Government inspectors have placed the school in special measures after visiting in March and publishing their findings last week.

The report says special measures are needed at the Chesterfield Road South school ‘because it is failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education’.

And inspectors add that ‘the persons responsible for leading, managing or governing the school are not demonstrating the capacity to secure the necessary improvement’.

But despite the disappointing report, school leaders insist there have been improvements in exam results year-on-year and say gaining academy status will help to consolidate this.

John Carter, chairman of the governing body, said: “We know that our five-plus A* to C GCSE passes including English and maths are on track to exceed the Government’s new higher floor target of 35 per cent and reports by our School Improvement Partners have been extremely favourable.

“We are disappointed by the findings of the Ofsted report, particularly as the school has been working extremely hard to improve examination results over the last few years.”

The school has now revealed it will seek the greater freedom offered through academy status by working with the School Partnership Trust.

Chief executive of the trust, Sir Paul Edwards, is a previous deputy headteacher at Forest Town’s Garibaldi School and knows the Mansfield area well.

“In spite of the Ofsted judgement, this is an exciting time for Queen Elizabeth’s School and we are determined that the school and the wider community will see this as a brand new start,” Mr Carter said this week.

In the Ofsted report, inspectors label both the standard of teaching and achievement of pupils as ‘inadequate’.

They find many examples of poor behaviour among pupils in lessons, including ‘paper aeroplanes being thrown, shouting, kicking furniture and in one incident outside, a student throwing water over another’.

Teaching is also criticised for failing to provide satisfactory progress for pupils.

And inspectors call on school leaders to move Queen Elizabeth’s forward by improving behaviour as a priority, improving the pace of learning in lessons, raising teachers’ expectations of what students can do and achieve and ensuring teachers use assessment information to plan work.

Ofsted did find some positive aspects of the school, including satisfactory progress in exams, extra-curricular success in sport and good systems put in place for monitoring by the governing body.

Mr Carter said: “We still have much to celebrate at Queen Elizabeth’s School.

“In July we mark the school’s 450th anniversary with a weekend of community events and this summer two of our students will be representing the UK at an International Karate Championship in America in August.

“The school has a long history and we are fully committed to our students and our community.

“We will rise to the challenge and move on to greater things and better opportunities for all our students.”