Garden Primary School could become an academy after 'inadequate' judgement by Ofsted

Wimbledon Guardian: Garden Primary School in Pollards Hill Garden Primary School in Pollards Hill

A second primary school in Mitcham could be turned into an academy after it was judged "inadequate" by Ofsted.

Garden Primary School in Pollards Hill was placed in special measures following an inspection in September 2013 which means it could be made to convert to an academy.

The report criticised the quality of teaching, lack of achievement by pupils, their behaviour and inadequate levels of leadership and management at the "larger than normal" primary school which has a capacity of 474.

It said pupils were failing to make adequate progress in reading, writing and maths and that expectations of them were "low" while school leaders were also criticised for not having tackled issues raised for improvement at the previous inspection.

The decision over whether the school will become an academy will ultimately be down to the governing body of the school and the Department for Education who have the power to force the school to become an academy should they deem it necessary.

Councillor Martin Whelton, cabinet member for education, made his preference for Garden Primary to become part of the Harris Academy chain known.

He said: "We think that is the best way forward and we understand the school has had talks with Harris Academy being a potential sponsor.

"This is something that I would welcome because they have a track record of turning failing schools around and they have already been very successful at secondary school level.

"We have zero tolerance for failing schools.

"The children come first.

"It's important that they are given a quality education."

Academy schools are state funded but independent of local authorities.

Should it be turned into an academy, Garden Primary will become the borough’s second primary school academy and will join two secondary academies already run by the Harris Federation - Harris Academy Merton and Harris Academy Morden.

A spokeswoman for Merton Council said: "Providing a good education for all our children is a major priority for the council.

"We will review the Ofsted report and take the necessary steps to ensure the children at Garden receive quality teaching and are given the best start to their schooling."

Comments (3)

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8:36am Tue 17 Dec 13

treelee says...

Doesn't help when the school has ofsted inspection the first week back to school in September. There are worse schools in Merton failing children, I should know, I took my children out of a primary school in Merton and put them in garden. Think Merton should ask the parents what they think. I think the school is amazing, my children have achieved so much from being in this school, they are also very supportive. I'm not a happy parent if this school becomes academy. To many pen pusher in this world, seem to forget children don't run how a book says they should.
Doesn't help when the school has ofsted inspection the first week back to school in September. There are worse schools in Merton failing children, I should know, I took my children out of a primary school in Merton and put them in garden. Think Merton should ask the parents what they think. I think the school is amazing, my children have achieved so much from being in this school, they are also very supportive. I'm not a happy parent if this school becomes academy. To many pen pusher in this world, seem to forget children don't run how a book says they should. treelee

2:18pm Tue 17 Dec 13

janee says...

There is no evidence that becoming an academy improves results. There are plenty of mentions in Ofsted reports on struggling academies that the support of the local authority is positive and helpful. I seems that Ofsted is not longer unbiassed and is being used to "fail" schools so that they can be forced to become academies. Harris is expanding so rapidly. It is also true that Dan Moynihan, the CEO of Harris Federation, is one of the additional inspectors for Tribal. It would have been Tribal which carried out the inspection of Garden. The whole system has become more to do with privatisation and fragmentation of education, rather than improving it.
There is no evidence that becoming an academy improves results. There are plenty of mentions in Ofsted reports on struggling academies that the support of the local authority is positive and helpful. I seems that Ofsted is not longer unbiassed and is being used to "fail" schools so that they can be forced to become academies. Harris is expanding so rapidly. It is also true that Dan Moynihan, the CEO of Harris Federation, is one of the additional inspectors for Tribal. It would have been Tribal which carried out the inspection of Garden. The whole system has become more to do with privatisation and fragmentation of education, rather than improving it. janee

12:36pm Sat 21 Dec 13

tamworth says...

With Martin Whelton, cabinet member for education, praising the skills of academies, in particular the Harris group, is it any wonder that local authorities schools have such an unfair fight on their hands in order to succeed.
If these are his views, as expressed in the above article, I suggest it is time for him to resign as cabinet member for education and also from the council since he has such a poor opinion of the work of the local authority he is obviously most unsuitable for his role.
With Martin Whelton, cabinet member for education, praising the skills of academies, in particular the Harris group, is it any wonder that local authorities schools have such an unfair fight on their hands in order to succeed. If these are his views, as expressed in the above article, I suggest it is time for him to resign as cabinet member for education and also from the council since he has such a poor opinion of the work of the local authority he is obviously most unsuitable for his role. tamworth

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