Failing school placed in special measures

Hope Academy in Newton has been placed in special measures
Hope Academy in Newton has been placed in special measures
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A troubled Newton secondary has been placed in special measures after Ofsted branded parts of the school as ‘dysfunctional’.

Inspectors found standards at Hope Academy had worsened since its last inspection just eight weeks ago.

All four key indicators of a school’s effectiveness - pupil achievement, teaching, pupil behaviour and management - were labelled ‘inadequate’ in the report, published last Wednesday.

Inspectors found a toxic learning environment, particularly for boys, many of whom showed little pride in their work, the report states.

A high turnover of staff was highlighted as a barrier to good learning, while the academy’s isolation room is branded “dysfunctional”.

The report also highlights:

g Wide-spread bullying, particularly name-calling and homophobic bullying

g Low attendance rates among pupils

gWoefully ineffective management

The report also revealed almost half of parents would not recommend the school.

And worryingly, fresh attempts to tackle teachers’ poor performance has caused considerable disruption and uncertainty.

The academy, formed by a merger of St Aelred’s and Newton High, will now face a regular Ofsted inspections and closer monitoring by council officials.

St Helens Council’s education director Andy Dempsey said: “We are deeply concerned that the standards expected of the Hope Academy – which is independent of full council control - are not being achieved.

“Along with the other organisations involved with the school we will be taking the necessary action to get the academy back on track as quickly as possible.”

The former principal John Gannon resigned after concerns first emerged about Hope. No one from the school was available for comment.