I've been emailed a flyer which suggests that parents in Kennington are concerned that two local primary schools are in "special measures" and would like to meet to discuss their options. Click the poster to view a larger copy to discover where/when the meeting takes place:
Being placed in special measures means that Ofsted judge that a school does not provide an acceptable level of education and lacks the leadership capacity to improve matters. The local schools that have been / were placed under special measures are Henry Fawcett Primary School and Vauxhall Primary School (see here for large .zip file of the data as at 31st March 2010 from Ofsted). Note that as of 9th/10th June 2010 (date of last inspection), Henry Fawcett is deemed no longer to be in special measures. Therefore, the poster above is somewhat misleading.
I cannot imagine how it must feel to teach or lead a school placed in special measures so I really hope that the parents at those two schools are rallying together to be as supportive of the staff as they can. It would be very interesting to see if the wider Kennington and Vauxhall community could think of ways to offer their talents to the schools that do not make the grade that would give the children at those schools a boost, but I'm not altogether inclined to think that Londoners are necessarily so community minded. Whilst being placed in special measures is something of an indictment on a school, I do wonder whether the school intake at both of the schools that were originally placed in special measures comprises of a larger number of children who speak English as a second language, and who are entitled to free school meals (indicating poverty). Note that the most recent Henry Fawcett Ofsted report states "Attendance has risen, but not at a pace that matches the improvements in other areas, despite the school's strenuous efforts." which rather implies that the staff are working with a set of parents who don't place a high value on education and potentially have lower aspirations for their children.
As far as I know, there are seven primary schools in SE11 and Ofsted rate schools Overall effectiveness with the grades Outstanding, Good, Satisfactory and Inadequate. I've provided links to all of the Ofsted reports so that anybody interested can analyse further:
Archbishop Sumner (C of E) - 2009 Ofsted Report judged school as Outstanding
Charlotte Sharman - 2009 Ofsted Report judged school as Satisfactory
Henry Fawcett - 2010 Ofsted Report judged school as Satisfactory
St Anne's Catholic Primary School (RC) - 2008 Ofsted Report judged school as Good
St Mark's (C of E) - 2008 Ofsted Report judged school as Good
Vauxhall Primary School - 2010 Ofsted Report judged school as Good
Walnut Tree Walk Primary School - 2010 Ofsted Report judged school as Good
I'm not surprised that having two of seven schools in special measures (or recently placed as such) is causing consternation amongst local parents. If you're not religious and don't wish to enter into attending church for the sake of your child's education, you have a choice of only four schools, two of which are or have recently been in special measures and a third of which is judged only as satisfactory. This, I imagine, puts considerable pressure on places at Walnut Tree Walk.
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