De La Salle rejects attempt to force it to become an academy

De La Salle School remains in special measures
De La Salle School remains in special measures

School bosses in St Helens say they have rejected a bid by the Government to turn troubled De La Salle High into an academy.

The Eccleston school was placed into special measures last year and its most recent Ofsted inspection report said standards had still not risen sufficiently.

It went on to say lessons at the Mill Brow school, which counts author and screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce and Saints legend Paul Wellens as former pupils, were “dull and poorly planned”.

Now an application has been made by the Department of Education to take the school out of the control of the local authority.

However, unless the school fails its fifth Ofsted inspection, that cannot happen without the consent of the school’s trustees.

In a letter issued to parents and guardians, headteacher John Toal said: “The latest report is clearly a blow and inconsistent with the findings of the previous four monitoring visits which commented on the progress the school was making.

“Our school will not look to offer any excuses and accepts inspectors’ comments and concerns. However context is vital and while there are several points of concern within the report, inspectors once again commented positively on our staff and our pupils.

“In addition, I want to reaffirm the commitment of the Governing Body and our staff to continue to do all that we can to ensure that the final Section 5 inspection - expected this term - will conclude that despite the various challenges operationally and financially we faced last year, we will come out of special measures.”

Education chiefs at St Helens Council said they would continue to support the school’s attempts to get out of special measures.

A town hall spokesman said: “The Department for Education introduced a change in legislation in April this year whereby all schools in special measures will receive an academy order.

“For a school to become an academy, permission needs to be granted by the school’s trustees. In this case, the trustees have not consented to academisation.

“De La Salle is expected to receive its final Section 5 inspection later this term and the council will offer its support by working closely with the school to help ensure that the outcome is a positive one.”