Flagship academy Chatham Grammar School given ‘inadequate’ score by Ofsted
Inspectors present the most severe criticism yet of standards in a selective school
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Tuesday 10 September 2013
A grammar school which became one of the Government’s flagship academies has been rated “inadequate” by school inspectors – leading to a team from a rival school nearby being drafted in to take over.
Chatham Grammar School for Boys in Kent has been given the severest criticism ever of a selective school in a report by education standards watchdog Ofsted published on Tuesday.
The school is only the second grammar school in the country to fail its inspection in the two-decade history of the watchdog.
It is criticised for “inadequate” management which had failed to tackle “weak and inadequate” teaching – with the result that behaviour by the pupils deteriorated as they were no longer motivated.
The first grammar school to fail, in greater Manchester, only failed in one category: promoting community cohesion amongst different groups of pupils, a category now abolished. The criticism of Chatham Grammar School for Boys is far more wide-ranging.
It comes after chief school inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw warned of a war on “coasting” schools – those with a more privileged intake which were sitting on their laurels instead of improving what looked like good exam results.
Crucially, one of the areas it has been most severely criticised for is over the education of disadvantaged pupils whose presence qualifies the school for a pupil premium. Sir Michael said such pupils often fared worst in schools with only a handful in this category
Now a team of education experts from neighbouring Rochester Grammar School – ranked the second best in the entire country for its GCSE results last year – has been drafted into the school to begin the process of turning it round. Stuart Gardner, Rochester’ principal, said colleagues will help. A parents’ forum is to be held at the school tomorrow) to discuss issues.
“This is an excellent school community and I’m looking forward to helping it build both its reputation and academic standards,” said Mr Gardner.
In its report on the school, Ofsted said: “Leadership and management are inadequate because achievement – especially in English – and the quality of teaching have not improved quickly enough since the previous inspection.”
It added: “Teaching requires improvement because weak and inadequate teaching have not been eradicated. Teachers do not consistently plan lessons that challenge students.”
It concluded: “Students lose interest and motivation when teaching is not good enough so their learning is disrupted.”
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