Middle school placed on special measures

A TROUBLED middle school was last night accused of failing its 500 pupils as concerned education bosses placed it on special measures.The move at Ixworth Middle School - which could lead to its closure if standards fail to improve - comes after independent inspectors said the school had worsened over the past six years and had “significant weaknesses”.

A TROUBLED middle school was last night accused of failing its 500 pupils as concerned education bosses placed it on special measures.

The move at Ixworth Middle School - which could lead to its closure if standards fail to improve - comes after independent inspectors said the school had worsened over the past six years and had “significant weaknesses”.

Parents said yesterday they were not surprised the school was in need of special measures as it emerged some had already removed their children.

And inspectors at Ofsted, who recommended the drastic step, have written directly to pupils calling for improvements.


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Staff and governors last night put on a united front, describing the report as “disappointing” but promising improvements.

But a concerned mother, who did not want to be named, said: “I have had four of my children go to Ixworth and in my opinion the teaching staff in the past have not been as professional as they should have been.

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“I think certain issues were not addressed as quickly as they might be and the school has been steadily failing - it has become atrocious and things can only get better. I am hoping special measures and a new headteacher might make a difference.”

Governors and staff have already launched an action plan to address the problems exposed by the recent report after inspectors spent two days at the middle school.

Glenice Francis, who was brought in as an interim headteacher earlier this month , said: “Everyone including staff, governors and the local authority (Suffolk County Council) are determined to turn this school around quickly. I am confident we will make speedy progress.”

Although the damning Ofsted report praised links with primary and upper schools, a number of “significant weaknesses” were highlighted including pupils' behaviour and attitudes to learning and punctuality.

In a letter to pupils, lead Ofsted inspector Stephen Grounds said: “Overall we judged that the progress many of you are making is below that of which you are capable of.

“Some lessons are not well taught or are disrupted by a minority of pupils, mainly boys, with noise, chatter and inattention. The school needs to improve the way it manages poor behaviour and the way it checks on the quality of teaching.”

In a joint statement, Ann Mathews, chairman of governors, and the county council's local education area director Vanessa Harvey-Samuel said: “We are very disappointed by the report, but acknowledge the need for significant and swift improvements.

“We are drawing together an action plan to ensure that the school is regarded once again as a good school in the shortest possible time.”

The school's former headteacher, Sara Muzira , who stepped down before the summer holidays, refused to comment yesterday about the decision.

A special measures order puts staff on notice to improve standards. Once the decision to place a school on special measures has been made the ultimate sanction for continued failure is closure but education bosses say this course of action is extremely rare.

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