Struggling Walsall school has 16 staff members on long-term absence

A troubled school still has 16 staff members on long-term absence following a temporary closure in February, according to Express and Star

Months after a forced closure, a special school in Walsall still has 16 staff members on long-term absence.

Jane Lane School has been plagued by issues; it closed in February due to health and safety concerns, and a deeply negative Ofsted report saw it placed into special measures.

The latest Ofsted report does, however, state that leaders at the school are taking action towards the removal of those special measures and that their improvement plan is fit for purpose.

One issue that has caused huge problems for the school is a lack of staff, which is what caused the health and safety concerns in February.

The most recent report states: ‘Currently there are 16 members of staff on long-term absence. The weekly average number of supply staff filling these positions is 20.

‘Since taking up her post in February 2019, the acting interim headteacher has quickly established herself within the school and has developed positive working relationships with members of the IEB [the new governing body for the school], the deputy headteacher and staff within the school.

‘She has galvanised the staff and, together with the strengthened leadership team and experienced members of the IEB, has made some significant changes in order to instigate the necessary improvements across the school.

‘These have been achieved in a very short amount of time. However, the school improvement journey is still at an early stage.

‘While it is clear that there are improvements in some aspects of the school’s performance, such as safeguarding and behaviour, some key weaknesses remain.’

A spokesperson for Walsall Council said: “Whilst we were concerned and disappointed with the position of Jane Lane School following the inspection in November 2018 we are pleased that the improvements made since then have been recognised by HMI following their visit to the school in April 2019.

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“This was the first monitoring inspection since November and it was pleasing to see they recognised that the leaders are taking effective action and have made significant improvements in relation to safeguarding.

“We would like to thank again all the head teachers, IEB members and local schools that supported the children, parents and school staff during this challenging time.

“It was pleasing to see the specific mention of the positive relationships between pupils and adults and that staff have a good understanding of pupils’ social and emotional needs.

“We are aware that this is just the beginning of the journey for the school, and we still have a long way to go, but we are confident we are moving in the right direction to improve the outcomes for our children and young people at Jane Lane School.”

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