CORE Education Trust Response to latest Ofsted Report
As you will know, we are one year on from the publication of the Section 5 Ofsted Inspections that led to the academies in the Park View Educational Trust being subject to special measures. The latest Ofsted monitoring inspection reports for Nansen and Park View have now been published and we received a positive visit from Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education, Sir Michael Wilshaw and the Education Commissioner for Birmingham, Sir Mike Tomlinson last week. I therefore wanted to take this opportunity to share the progress made by the new CORE Education Trust.
The first monitoring inspections carried out at all our academies when I arrived in September 2014 painted a bleak picture. None of the improvement plans or statements of action at that time were fit for purpose, there were considerable staff absences at senior leadership level, there were no governors in place at any of our academies and confidence was understandably very low following a period of crisis which had been heavily reported in the press. There was confusion and uncertainty about the future, leaving parents feeling let down and uninformed of what was happening. This was a challenging context for me to begin the process of rebuilding the Trust but I have been fortunate to have secured some important support from a range of key stakeholders, not least yourselves and your children during this time. Thank you for that support because it has been a key factor in allowing us to create improved stability and a strong sense of purpose in the face of adversity.
The picture today is very different and there is much for us to take encouragement from. We have re-constituted and re-branded the Trust, we have secured leadership solutions for Nansen and Rockwood (Park View) from September, we are successfully managing the transition of Golden Hillock to new sponsorship arrangements and we are resolving many complex staffing issues. Each of our three academies has received acknowledgement from Ofsted about the positive changes we have introduced since I arrived. There is still much work to be done and we have not relented in our drive for rapid and sustained improvements. We are receiving on-going support and challenge from the Department for Education and particularly from the Regional Schools Commissioner in this pursuit.
The Trust would have hoped to have made more consistent and sustained progress since the time the academies were placed in special measures but we have to accept that a whole term was lost (Summer 2014) in the preparation and planning to do so. We are therefore particularly pleased to have made up some ground in that respect.
However, we are realistic about the challenges that remain and mindful that progress is currently still not at the level we aspire to across the board. In some circumstances, setbacks have been beyond our control but it is important that we continue to respond dynamically to the monitoring inspection process and work tirelessly to improve standards.
As a Trust, we have focused heavily on safeguarding and have put the safety and welfare of children at the centre of our plans to improve the academies. We note with great satisfaction that the theme of improved levels of child safety has been consistently identified as an emerging strength across all our academies. This is extremely important to us and we will continue to be vigilant in making sure this remains the case. We will also continue to build on other significant areas of progress with the curriculum, personal development and student outcomes.
Ultimately, I would like to stress that monitoring inspections provide very clear messages about areas of concern for schools in special measures. Whilst some of these messages can be difficult to hear, we continue to work closely with Ofsted in understanding the urgency of addressing key improvement priorities. We are also very keen to keep parents involved in this process and always welcome your views. I am personally committed to seeing this journey enter its next phase and I am optimistic that we will establish CORE Education Trust’s vision to take Rockwood Academy and Nansen Primary School out of special measures next year. We also wish Golden Hillock every success as it enters into its next chapter as Ark Boulton.
I look forward to providing continued positive updates. In the meantime, thank you all for your support.
Adrian Packer, CEO
CORE Education Trust