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Three schools ordered to improve - or face closure

PUBLISHED: 16:29 18 October 2019 | UPDATED: 09:29 19 October 2019

Wayland Junior Academy in Watton has been served with a termination warning notice by the regional schools commissioner following its inadequate Ofsted judgement. Picture: TEN Group

Wayland Junior Academy in Watton has been served with a termination warning notice by the regional schools commissioner following its inadequate Ofsted judgement. Picture: TEN Group

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Three academies have been threatened with closure if rapid improvements are not made.

Regional schools commissioner Sue Baldwin.
Picture: Nick ButcherRegional schools commissioner Sue Baldwin. Picture: Nick Butcher

Wayland Junior Academy in Watton, Fen Rivers Academy in King's Lynn and Ormiston Denes Academy in Lowestoft were served with termination warning notices by the Department for Education after being rated inadequate by Ofsted earlier this month.

The letters, signed by regional schools commissioner (RSC) Sue Baldwin, ask the academies to lay out their improvement plans.

If these are not deemed acceptable, the schools could lose their funding.

All of the schools said they were taking action to address the failings.

Termination warning notices are standard practice following an inadequate Ofsted judgement.

But the letter to Ormiston Denes, managed by Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT), detailed issues including a failure "to pay due regard to the achievement, welfare and safety of a small but significant number of pupils" and problems with persistent absence.

The letter to Catch 22 Multi Academy Trust (MAT) about Fen Rivers Academy said Ofsted had found a lack of strategic planning among leaders, governors and the trust, too many incidents of staff using "high-level restrictive intervention" on pupils, low attendance and poor behaviour.

Catch 22, OAT and Norfolk Academies Trust, which manages Wayland Junior, were asked to hand over post-inspection action plans to the RSC. OAT was also asked to supply details of steps taken to address the accuracy of attendance reporting and inclusion and safeguarding issues, while Catch 22 was also asked to supply details of pupils' progress and actions being taken to support education improvements.

Ormiston Denes Academy in Lowestoft. Pictures: Mick HowesOrmiston Denes Academy in Lowestoft. Pictures: Mick Howes

An OAT spokesman said: "We have taken exceptionally seriously the areas of concern in the Ofsted report and we are extremely disappointed that they occurred."

They said the trust had shared its action plan for Ormiston Denes, appointed an experienced principal and assured the RSC that such "unacceptable practices" would not be repeated.

Jane Reed, education chief executive for Catch22 MAT and Independent Schools, said Fen Rivers Academy was addressing the issues raised by Ofsted, including starting improvements to behaviour management and leadership processes and training staff to meet pupils' social, emotional and mental health needs.

A spokesman for Norfolk Academies Trust said a new interim executive board and external specialists were supporting the leadership team at Wayland Junior with improvements.

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