By Dave Gilchrist
Education campaigner and author Janet Downs has called on Education Secretary Nicky Morgan to think about the wording of the latest Ofsted report on the failing school IES Breckland in Brandon, Suffolk.
The school, the only one in the country run by a for-profit company has been in special measures for nearly two years and operates at a loss. The latest Ofsted report moves the school to the ‘requires improvement’ category. However the report states the low GCSE results at IES ‘must be considered against pupils’ low starting points and the turbulent period that the school has been through in the past two years’. Downs points out that at two free schools in Beccles and Saxmundham run by Seckford Foundation Free Schools Trust have had the same rider applied to them. This, Downs points out, is in contrast to other schools in the country such as those that might be categorised as ‘coasting’ in which the governments ‘no excuses’ policy is enforced.
Ofsted’s report on the school states that the quality of its teaching, learning and assessment, the personal development, behaviour and welfare of pupils and outcomes for learners still required improvement.
According to figures in Schools Week the school’s educational service provider, IES International English Schools UK Ltd, had cut its losses by almost 80 per cent last year, it was £271,041 in the year to June 30 last year and was cut to £54,773 this year. The company’s turnover increased from £77,650 to £103,212 during the same period and, following revelations in Schools Week that debts of £307,369 owed to Swedish parent company IES Sverige AB were written off last year, only £76,725 of debt was written off in the latest financial year.
The Truth About Our Schools: Exploding the Myths, Exploring the Evidence, by Melissa Benn and Janet Downs, is published by Routledge.