Barnsley school slips into trouble

Students receiving their A-level results at Barnsley Academy last summer.
Students receiving their A-level results at Barnsley Academy last summer.
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A South Yorkshire school hailed as the most improved in Yorkshire less than three years ago has now been rated inadequate by inspectors.

Barnsley Academy at Kendray hit a peak in 2011 when 55 per cent of its pupils achieved five or more good GCSEs - compared with just six per cent in 2006.

The school’s last inspection resulted in a grade of ‘good’.

But since then results have declined and last summer the pass rate had sunk back to 37 per cent, below the Government’s ‘floor target’ of 40.

The school is run by the United Learning Trust, which is also in charge of Sheffield Park and Sheffield Springs academies.

An Ofsted team found that its senior leaders had been slow to deal with the downturn in achievement and now had serious weaknesses.

Its GCSE grades were not good enough with too many students not making progress expected of them in English and maths, while too few were doing well.

The achievement gap between disadvantaged youngsters and others in the school was too wide.

Older students in this group did not attend regularly enough and funding allocated to them was not being spent effectively.

Teaching quality was rated inadequate and pupils were not being consistently challenged to think deeply.

Behaviour was not good enougth in many lessons, while the sixth form required improvement.

ULT’s Janet Woods promised improvements in a letter to parents.

But she said: “While disappointed in this outcome, we agree with Ofsted’s findings. Despite some years of excellent progress, sustaining and maintaining the momentum of improvement has proved tough.”