Struggling primary school to become academy

Wimbledon Guardian: Garden Primary is set to become part of the Harris Federation Garden Primary is set to become part of the Harris Federation

A struggling primary school is set to be turned into an academy this year after its teaching and pupil's behaviour was slammed by Ofsted inspectors.

Plans to transform Garden Primary School in Pollards Hill have been welcomed by Merton Council after the school was placed in special measures following an inspection in September 2013.

The Harris Federation is set to sponsor the school's turn around, following a damning report by inspectors that highlighted problems including pupil's failure to make adequate progress in basic subjects including reading, writing and maths.

Councillor Martin Whelton, cabinet member for education, said although a few details are yet to be ironed out, he welcomed the news Garden Primary will become part of the Harris group.

Coun Whelton said: "Harris has a track record of turning schools around.

"Harris Academy Merton has seen some of the best GSCE results in Merton - we have seen the transformation.

"We see this as a positive development and it is good for the local area too."

The Ofsted 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 to turn the school into an academy was made by governors and the Department for Education who have the power to force the school to become an academy should they deem it necessary.

Academy schools are state funded but independent of local authorities.

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.

Comments (7)

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12:26pm Sat 4 Jan 14

tamworth says...

It is unacceptable for the Cabinet Member for Education, Cllr Martin Whelton, to endorse the removal of Garden Primary from local authority control and to suggest that academy status will improve the school.

Local authorities have many years of experience of running successful schools and if Merton Council is failing in its role where Garden is concerned then I suggest the Member should resign as Cabinet Member for Education at least, but preferably resign from the council.
It is unacceptable for the Cabinet Member for Education, Cllr Martin Whelton, to endorse the removal of Garden Primary from local authority control and to suggest that academy status will improve the school. Local authorities have many years of experience of running successful schools and if Merton Council is failing in its role where Garden is concerned then I suggest the Member should resign as Cabinet Member for Education at least, but preferably resign from the council. tamworth
  • Score: 3

12:45pm Sat 4 Jan 14

tjames says...

another merton educational success--lets put them all out of reach of local councils
another merton educational success--lets put them all out of reach of local councils tjames
  • Score: 0

12:50pm Sat 4 Jan 14

tjames says...

merton councils record on state schools is bad--that is why there are so many private schools--i sent one son to Wilsons in sutton and the other to private school in croydon
merton councils record on state schools is bad--that is why there are so many private schools--i sent one son to Wilsons in sutton and the other to private school in croydon tjames
  • Score: 1

1:47am Sun 5 Jan 14

treelee says...

Never mind what the parents think. Its only our children you wish to use in this. I will NOT be a parent supporting this change. The schoool was fine before. Funny how Harris wanted and tryed to take over William Morris but didn't win that, so they go for the next nearest school. Garden is a very good school and ofsted don't know what they are talking about, when they make a judgement ona school first week back to school last September term. Also helps when someone from Harris has a big part to play with the ofsted inpection. So Garden didn't stand a chance. MERTON YOU HAVE MADE A BIG MISTAKE. Please stop thinking about numbers and money and start thinking about OUR children, as its them who suffering already from this change. What a roller coaster year this is gonna be getting it all ready for this September, forget about how this affects them now. They are little humans to and they to have a voice of what they would like and how there school is run.
Never mind what the parents think. Its only our children you wish to use in this. I will NOT be a parent supporting this change. The schoool was fine before. Funny how Harris wanted and tryed to take over William Morris but didn't win that, so they go for the next nearest school. Garden is a very good school and ofsted don't know what they are talking about, when they make a judgement ona school first week back to school last September term. Also helps when someone from Harris has a big part to play with the ofsted inpection. So Garden didn't stand a chance. MERTON YOU HAVE MADE A BIG MISTAKE. Please stop thinking about numbers and money and start thinking about OUR children, as its them who suffering already from this change. What a roller coaster year this is gonna be getting it all ready for this September, forget about how this affects them now. They are little humans to and they to have a voice of what they would like and how there school is run. treelee
  • Score: 2

10:19am Sun 5 Jan 14

janee says...

When saying that Harris has a track record of improving schools there should be more information. For example, some of the schools taken over were already improving their results BEFORE Harris took over. In some cases, Harris has claimed credit for improvement in the year they took over - in other words claiming credit for the work done before they intervened. In at least one case, they appeared to improve exam results by "gaming" - forcing pupils to enter for vocational courses which counted for more than GCSEs. It is always worth checking on the EBacc results, not just the GCSEs. It is also worth comparing year on year on the percentage of pupils on free school meals and with special needs.

The major problem with the forced competition between schools is that so called "successful" schools are often using unethical ways of boosting their position in the league tables. The local education authorities, where they were effective, prevented this sort of behaviour. We should focus on what is good for the child and on the educational needs of the country in the 22nd century, not the position of schools in artificial league tables.
When saying that Harris has a track record of improving schools there should be more information. For example, some of the schools taken over were already improving their results BEFORE Harris took over. In some cases, Harris has claimed credit for improvement in the year they took over - in other words claiming credit for the work done before they intervened. In at least one case, they appeared to improve exam results by "gaming" - forcing pupils to enter for vocational courses which counted for more than GCSEs. It is always worth checking on the EBacc results, not just the GCSEs. It is also worth comparing year on year on the percentage of pupils on free school meals and with special needs. The major problem with the forced competition between schools is that so called "successful" schools are often using unethical ways of boosting their position in the league tables. The local education authorities, where they were effective, prevented this sort of behaviour. We should focus on what is good for the child and on the educational needs of the country in the 22nd century, not the position of schools in artificial league tables. janee
  • Score: 2

10:21am Sun 5 Jan 14

tjames says...

politics and education do not mix--all schools should be independent
politics and education do not mix--all schools should be independent tjames
  • Score: 1

12:57pm Tue 7 Jan 14

tamworth says...

It is business and education that don't mix - all faith, independent, private and public schools should be closed and all schools should be controlled by the local authority to ensure equal opportunities for all pupils
It is business and education that don't mix - all faith, independent, private and public schools should be closed and all schools should be controlled by the local authority to ensure equal opportunities for all pupils tamworth
  • Score: 1

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