Damning reports expose two schools to take-over: Patten ready to send in government-appointed rescue teams if proposals to improve standards fail to win approval

TWO SCHOOLS are facing the possibility that they could be taken over by government-appointed rescue teams after being the subject of damning inspectors' reports.

Crook Primary School in Co Durham and Brookside Special School in Derbyshire are both failing to provide pupils with an acceptable standard of education, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of schools says. Both have 40 days to produce action plans for improvements, and if John Patten, Secretary of State for Education, is not satisfied he can recruit 'education associations' to take over from the schools' head teachers and governors.

The schools are the first to fall foul of the 1993 Education Act, which aims to raise standards in failing schools. If the associations, which might include respected former head teachers or advisers, take over the schools and turn them round, the establishments will be removed from local authority control and become self-governing. If they fail to make significant improvements, they could be closed.

Crook Primary School lies on the outskirts of Durham and has 369 pupils. Brookside Special School is in Breadsall, near Derby, and has 47 pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties.

The inspectors found that Brookside was failing to meet the demands of the national curriculum, that it was not meeting proper health and safety standards, and that the use of physical restraint on pupils was 'a serious cause for concern'. Two compulsory subjects under the national curriculum - music and religious education - did not appear on the timetable and history was not taught to pupils aged 14 and over.

Although staff worked hard to create good relationships with pupils, too often the pupils were excluded from school for bad behaviour. Attendance in some classes was below 50 per cent, and pupils could opt in and out of the school's boarding accommodation at will. The school caters for all abilities, but none of the 16 pupils who were aged 16 last year was entered for GCSE examinations.

At Crook Primary School, the inspectors found that children were failing to fulfil their potential in every one of the 10 national curriculum subjects. Most of the pupils were badly behaved, they said, showing little care for their surroundings or for others, and a small number were aggressive. Pupils were under-achieving in two-thirds of lessons seen by the inspection team, and teaching quality was unsatisfactory in six out of 10 lessons.

Mr Patten expressed his 'very serious concern' over standards at the two schools.

'All our pupils deserve nothing less than an acceptable standard of education,' he said.

Privatised teams will carry out all school inspections in future, but in the current academic year, HMIs are still responsible for special schools and primary schools.

Doug McAvoy, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said yesterday that the schools' problems would be compounded by the fact that they had been 'publicly pilloried'.

'This will undermine morale among staff and disrupt the education of pupils, causing unnecessary distress to pupils and parents,' he said.

Senior staff at Stratford School in Newham, east London, an opted- out school whose head, Anne Snelling, was accused of racism last year by two of the school's governors, were expecting to be told yesterday that they were to be the subject of a critical report from schools inspectors.

The inspectors, who spent a week at the school at the end of last month, will explain their findings to governors at the school on Monday. Its GCSE results were among the lowest in London this year, with just 4 per cent gaining five or more A to C grades.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....

Recruitment Genius: SAGE Bookkeeper & PA to Directors

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map