Trust says closure of failing school is ‘only option’

As reported by BBC newsan ‘undersubscribed’ secondary school currently in special measures is to close

Houghton Regis Academy will shut on 31 August 2022 after The Greenwood Academies Trust, which runs it, said it was its ‘only option’.

The school, for 11- to 16-year-olds, currently has about 280 pupils, compared to 317 in January 2019.

The school was rated inadequate in January 2019 when an Ofsted inspection found the state school had not “demonstrated the determination to bring about vital improvements”.

A parent told the BBC: “I feel a little bit confused. We don’t know what is going on; we think it’s outrageous, the way they are doing it.”

Another said the decision was ‘messing’ with his child’s education, and a mother said she was ‘devastated’, calling the move ‘crazy’.

A trust spokeswoman said: “Unfortunately, the academy is currently undersubscribed due to a proposed housing development not being built and this has led to low pupil numbers and an inability to recruit sufficient high-quality, subject-specific staff.

“After long and careful consideration, we believe that closure is now the only option.  A clear closure process has been developed and the academy will ensure all pupils are properly supported and have access to a good education throughout the closure transition period.”

Al Mistrano, an Ofsted inspector, said leaders and managers at the school were ‘not taking effective action towards the removal of special measures’.

Since the last inspection the trust ‘has not demonstrated the determination, capability or capacity to bring about vital improvements’.

He said the quality of teaching remained ‘weak’ and was not improving quickly enough.

But he found ‘strength’ in the school’s new leadership team, as it ‘has a common commitment to improving the school and provide high-quality education’.

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