November 14, 2022 11.55 am This story is over 17 months old

Lincoln Castle Academy in special measures after inadequate Ofsted rating

Threat of funding cuts and ownership changes from the Department for Education

By Local Democracy Reporter

The Department for Education has called for special measures to be introduced at a Lincoln school following an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted report — or else the trust in charge of the school will have funding cut.

Lincoln Castle Academy on Riseholme Road was visited by Ofsted inspectors on July 5 and 6 this year, with a damning report published in September.

The school was considered ‘inadequate’ in the inspection, with the school’s Principal sending a letter to parents and carers to tell them the school’s potential “hasn’t yet been realised”.

Issues around support for SEND pupils, the quality of careers education and behavioural standards were highlighted by the Ofsted report – which claims parents have “lost confidence in the school” and sixth-form students “feel unheard and let down”.

Now, a Termination Warning Notice was sent to Harbour Learning Trust, which runs Lincoln Castle Academy, following the publishing of the Ofsted report.

The letter, sent by the East Midlands’ Regional Director within the Department for Education, warns of consequences for the trust if “significant improvement” isn’t made at the school – in the form of special measures.

Should this not happen, the regional director could terminate a funding agreement, transferring Lincoln Castle Academy to a different educational trust.

A spokesperson for Lincoln Castle Academy said: “As we shared with our community at the time, during our last Ofsted inspection our school was graded as requiring improvement in three of the five categories we were inspected against, and graded as inadequate in the other two. Due to the way that the Ofsted framework is set up, the school was graded as inadequate overall.

“This grading starts a statutory process where every school graded as inadequate rightly faces greater scrutiny. Given that our last inspection notes that ‘new leaders are starting to make improvements to the school’,  this is something that we wholly welcome.

“The first of these formal steps is the school receiving a Termination Warning Notice. This is a standard letter that repeats Ofsted’s findings, and essentially says that unless progress continues to be made then our funding agreement for the school could potentially be moved to another multi-academy trust. We have known that this letter was coming from the moment that the inspection grade was confirmed.

“Lincoln Castle Academy has made sustained and tangible progress since the last inspection, and we are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that we continue on the trajectory that we are on. While it is important that this letter is acknowledged, it does not change what we are doing or why we are doing it.

“This summer, for example, the Trust has spent over £1.2million on our learning environments. We also celebrated the school’s strongest ever set of GCSE and A-Level results. We continue to invest significant time and effort into transforming our staff training programmes and are driving forward changes that improve the learning experiences of our children.”

Harbour Learning Trust has until November 18 to provide the Department for Education with any representations of plans to address the issues within the Ofsted report.

Failure to do so will result in the school changing hands, as will inadequate improvements, but the trust remain confident of implementing the necessary measures.

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