Skip to main content
article icon

The schools that did not need saving

Article | Published in TES Newspaper on 7 October, 2005 | By: Warwick Mansell and Adam Luck

The Government's academies programme has repeatedly been billed as an attempt to turn around schools with serious problems.

In recent months, both Jacqui Smith, the schools minister, and James Purnell, minister for creative industries and tourism, have said that the new secondaries are replacing "failing schools".

In a major speech last month at City of London Academy, Southwark, south London, which is an entirely new school, Tony Blair said the policy was designed to combat "years of school failure".

Yet a TES analysis, which we present in full below, reveals that none of the 27 schools which have closed to be replaced by academies was actually failing at the time it shut.

Thirteen had been in special measures or serious weaknesses in the past, but were judged to be on the road to recovery during inspection visits.

A further two were in serious weaknesses when they closed. Some of the reports are striking. They include verdicts on Thorne grammar, Doncaster, south Yorkshire ("an improving and increasingly effective school") and Malory school, Lewisham, south London ("It is a good school").

Three city technology colleges now converted into academies also received impressive reports.

Noa-5 Business academy, Bexley, south London Opened: 2002 Replaced: Thamesmead community college.

Last report (2002): "The school has made significant progress."

Status when replaced: Not in SW or SM.

Greig city academy, Haringey, north London Opened: 2002 Replaced: The School of St David and St Katharine Last report: (1998): "Has improved and continues to improve."

Status when replaced: Not in SW or SM.

Unity City academy, Middlesbrough Opened: 2002 Replaced: Langbaurgh school and Keldholme school.

Last Ofsted report on Langbaurgh (1998): "Langbaurgh school is a caring school which has good standards of behaviour I(but) low attendance and poor attainment constitute serious weaknesses."

Status when replaced: Serious weaknesses.

Last report on Keldholme (1998): "Keldholme school provides pupils with an orderly learning environment and the opportunity for high achievement."

Status when replaced: Not in serious weaknesses (SW) or special measures (SM).

The West London academy, Ealing, west London Opened: 2003 Replaced. Compton high.

Last report*: (1998): "Much progress has been made during the last year and the school has several strengths. However, several weaknesses still exist."

Status when replaced: Not in SW or SM.

Walsall city academy Opened: 2003 Replaced: TP Riley school.

Last report (2001): "It is providing an acceptable standard of education for its pupils. The school is well-led."

Status when replaced: Not in SW or SM.

The King's Academy, Middlesbrough Opened: 2003 Replaced: Brackenhoe high and Coulby Newham school.

Last report on Brackenhoe high (2001): "This is a rapidly improving school that has identified its main weaknesses and is making inroads into resolving them."

Status when replaced: Not in SW or SM.

Last report on Coulby Newham (2000): "The school provides a good standard of education. Pupils make good progress and achieve well, considering their starting points."

Status when replaced: Not in SW or SM.

The City academy, Bristol Opened: 2003 Replaced: St George community school.

Last report: (1999): "An innovative, entrepreneurial school I strengths outweigh weaknesses."

Status when replaced: Not in SW or SM.

The Academy at Peckham, Southwark, south London Opened: 2003 Replaced: Warwick Park school.

Last report: (2000): "It is now providing an acceptable standard of education. The quality of teaching is at least satisfactory in over four lessons in five. The school is very well-led."

Status when replaced: Not in SW or SM.

Manchester academy Opened: 2003 Replaced: Ducie high school.

Last report** (1997): "Many very positive features I justifiably the pride of its community."

Status when replaced: Not in SW or SM.

Djanogly city academy, Nottingham Opened: 2003 Replaced: Djanogly city technology college and Forest school.

Last report on Djanogly CTC (1998): "The college has many more strengths than weaknesses."

Status when replaced: Not in SW or SM.

Last report on Forest school (1998): "Pupils' attainment is low, but teaching is generally satisfactory. The quality of education is improving and is acceptable."

Status when replaced: Not in SW or SM.

City of London academy, Southwark, south London Opened: 2003 No predecessor school.

Capital city academy, Brent, north London Opened: 2003 Replaced: Willesden high.

Last report (2002) "The school operates very well in particularly challenging circumstances."

Status when replaced: Not in SW or SM Stockley academy, Hillingdon, west London Opened: 2004 Replaced: Evelyns community school.

Last report (2003): "The quality of pupils' learning has improved steadily.

Weaknesses in the pupils' attitude to learning reduced progress in some lessons."

Status when replaced: Not in SW or SM.

Northampton academy Opened: 2004 Replaced: Lings upper school.

Last report (2001): "The school is not sufficiently effective in helping pupils to make progress, although the context I is very challenging."

Status when replaced: Serious weaknesses.

Mossbourne community academy, Hackney, east London Opened: 2004 No predecessor school.

The London academy, Barnet, north London Opened: 2004 Replaced: Edgware school.

Last report: (1999): "The firm leadership of the recently appointed principal is helping to improve the school. The school has more strengths than weaknesses."

Status when replaced: Not in SW or SM.

Lambeth academy, south London Opened: 2004 No predecessor school.

Trinity academy, Doncaster Opened: 2005 Replaced: Thorne grammar school.

Last report (2003): "An improving and increasingly effective school, which cares well for its pupils."

Status when replaced: Not in SW or SM.

St Paul's academy, Greenwich Opened: 2005 Replaced: St Paul's Catholic school and Abbey Wood***.

Last report on St Paul's (2002): "This is a good school, in which effective teaching and high standards result in above average standards of work."

Status when replaced: Not in SW or SM.

Last report on Abbey Wood (2001): "A school with significant strengths.

There is a sustained focus on raising pupils' achievement."

Status when replaced: Not in SW or SM.

Salford city academy, Salford Opened: 2005 Replaced: Canon Williamson Church of England high school.

Last report (1999): "The strengths of the school outweigh its weaknesses."

Status when replaced: Not in SW or SM.

Marlowe academy, Ramsgate, Kent Opened: 2005 Replaced: Ramsgate school Last report: 2005: "The school has improved rapidly during the past year and now provides a satisfactory education. Standards remain too low, but (there has been) a significant improvement in the progress which pupils make."(This report cleared it from special measures.) Status when replaced: Not in SW or SM.

Harefield academy, Hillingdon, west London Opened: 2005 Replaced: John Penrose school.

Last report: (2001): "The school was last inspected in September 1999 and has made good improvement on the areas of weakness that were identified then."

Status when replaced: Not in SW or SM.

Haberdashers' Aske's Knights Academy, Lewisham, south London Opened: 2005 Replaced: Malory school.

Last report (2001) : "This is an improving school which copes extremely well with its challenging circumstances. It welcomes and celebrates its international I pupil population. It is a good school."

Status when replaced: Not in SW or SM.

Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham College Academy, Lewisham, south London Opened: 2005 Replaced: Haberdashers' Aske's city technology college.

Last report (2003): "A very effective school. High standards and very good improvement since the last inspection."

Status when replaced: Not in SW or SM.

Macmillan academy, Middlesbrough Opened: 2005 Replaced: Macmillan city technology college.

Last report (2005): "Macmillan is a highly effective college with many outstanding features."

Status when replaced: Not in SW or SM.

Dixon's city academy, Bradford Opened: 2005 Replaced: Dixon's city technology college.

Last report (2001): "This is a very effective school. Excellent leadership of the principal and senior staff ..."

Status when replaced: Not in SW or SM.

Academy of St Francis Assisi, Liverpool Opened: 2005 Replaced: Our Lady's Roman Catholic high school.

Last report (2001): "This is an effective school in which standards are rising, teaching is good and there is a high level of care and support for pupils."

Status when replaced: Not in SW or SM.

* Compton High School was called Walford High when inspected. It changed its name in 2001.** An unpublished 1999 HMI report on Ducie high was more critical.*** AbbeyWood will remain open for older pupils until 2009.Source for inspection information: Office for Standards in Education


Subscribe to the magazine

as yet unrated

Add your comment

Subscribe to the magazine
Join TES for free now

Join TES for free now

Four great reasons to join today...

1. Be part of the largest network of teachers in the world – over 2m members
2. Download over 600,000 free teaching resources
3. Get a personalized email of the most relevant resources for you delivered to your inbox.
4. Find out first about the latest jobs in education