December 13, 2022 11.00 am This story is over 16 months old

Inadequate Gainsborough Academy accused of ‘continually failing children’

The school’s trust says it’s working hard to improve

A councillor has demanded action on a Lincolnshire school which has been rated Inadequate for nearly ten years.

Gainsborough Academy is “continually failing children”, Councillor Matthew Boles has said, with local parents avoiding it.

The most recent Ofsted rating came in September, with behaviour and attitudes at the school strongly criticised.

The Wickersley Partnership Trust, who run the Corringham Road school, say they are working hard to improve following the latest results.

Councillor Boles (Gainsborough Hill – Liberal Democrat) urged Lincolnshire County Council to give the students a chance at a better education.

“12 years ago, Gainsborough Academy – or was it then Trent Valley Academy – opened to much fanfare, and promises about quality of education for children,” he told a recent full council meeting.

“In the ensuing 12 years, it has seen no less than ten head teachers, one name change, numerous uniform changes, and a continual revolving door of hundreds of members of staff.

“In September this year, the school was inspected by Ofsted and once again rated Inadequate. In its various guises, the school has sat in this category since May of 2013.

“Hundreds of parents are making the choice to incur huge costs and take children out of town seeking a better education for their children, not even considering the academy as an option, leaving the academy at 50% of its intended capacity.

“Gainsborough children cannot be left to be continually failed in such a way.”

Councillor Matthew Boles raised concerns about the school at Lincolnshire County Council | Photo: LCC

Councillor Patricia Bradwell (the Executive for Children’s Safety) said she shared his concerns.

“The council invested a lot of money in the school and it’s a fantastic building.

“We do talk to the Regional School Commissioner [about the school].

“And I understand that at this moment in time, there’s no decision being made about the current trust, but they are seriously looking at situation and hopefully they will make the right decision and we can then move forward.”

She agreed to meet with Councillor Boles to discuss the matter further.

Gainsborough Academy has 670 children on role, according to its website, but a capacity of 1,200.

Wickersley Partnership Trust’s Chair of Directors, Steve Calvert, Chair of Directors, and Chief Executive Officer Helen O’Brien have issued a statement in response.

“We acknowledge the result of our recent Ofsted inspection, and are working tirelessly in each area, and with every agency and external stakeholder, to ensure that all students have the best educational experience possible,” the statement says.

“Going forward, we are confident that – by ensuring our high expectations and working together in the Gainsborough Way – all students at The Gainsborough Academy will be given the best opportunity to leave school able, qualified and ready for the ever-changing world in which we live in.”

Council leaders recently shared fears of unaccountable failing academies who avoided scrutiny from local authorities.

Leader Councillor Martin Hill said there was a “lack of transparency over academies,” and “local authorities have deliberately been taken out of the equation.”

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