Damning Ofsted report concludes Coppice Spring Academy is ‘inadequate’

A secondary school in BASINGSTOKE was told it was providing pupils with an ‘unacceptably high quality education’ and was in a ‘serious state of decline over time’.

Coppice Spring Academy, a school for pupils with social, emotional and mental health difficulties, in Pack Lane, has been classified as ‘inadequate’ following an Ofsted inspection, during which inspectors found that students were ‘out of control’ and that staff feared harm.

The school, which is part of Catch 22 Multi Academies Trust Limited, has also been told by the education watchdog that its safeguard arrangements are “not effective”.

Pupils, staff, parents and carers have told Ofsted that the school “is not a safe place for pupils”.

Inspectors found the school’s main environment to be “unwelcoming” with scarred and dirty walls, torn carpets and classrooms that “do not convey a sense of ambition or belonging”.

The basic curriculum was deemed “particularly inadequate”, while the courses did not “give students the knowledge they urgently needed”.

The report states: “Prolonged part-time school attendance reinforces students’ lack of self-motivation and diminishes their hope for the future.

Ofsted found disruptive behavior and low expectations from staff to be ‘a constant backdrop to school life’.

Pupils often left class to wander the school grounds and often ran away from school altogether, which Ofsted said put them “at further risk of harm”.

Inspectors said strategies to improve behavior were ‘unsuccessful’ and there was no ‘routine analysis’ of behavioral incidents, including aggressive or sexualized behavior, pupils behaving destructive, disrespectful and dangerous manner.

Paul Mundy-Castle was named interim manager in February.

Read more: Basingstoke’s new manager was sacked from his last job and took the former employer to employment tribunal

Ofsted said it was ‘setting new limits and implementing fixed-term bans to tackle extreme behaviour, particularly where it is dangerous’, including pupils going to the school roof .

Ofsted said pupils recognized that individual staff could try to help them but had ‘no confidence’ in adults’ ability to resolve ‘disruptive, aggressive or bullying behaviour’.

One student said, “It wouldn’t be a good place to be gay. »

Ofsted said leaders had failed to identify the school’s “state of serious decline”.

Students in grades 7-10 have been attending school part-time since September 2021, with only a “small minority” taking part in distance learning.

A visit by the local authority in November 2021 “raised widespread concerns”.

Ofsted found there was a shortage of staff and high staff turnover and absence, with no specialist teachers for English, maths or science and a reliance on ‘unqualified and inexperienced staff’.

Ofsted traveled to Coppice Spring in March after receiving a complaint raising “serious concerns”.

Its report, published in June, said a staff survey showed that “almost all staff lack confidence in school management” and have an “unmanageable” workload.

Backup devices were “not effective”.

The exclusive use of “limited information from procurement agencies” was relied upon when hiring staff for temporary positions, and appointment files were considered “incomplete”.

The report added that the leaders did not check the “suitability of the candidate”.

The student’s behavior was found to be ‘often uncontrollable’, with staff reporting that he was ‘very afraid at times’ of being hurt.

Explosions and threats occurred frequently.

Ofsted said: ‘Leaders lack the capacity to run the school effectively’, adding: ‘The school is not functioning as it should.’

He asked the leaders to “immediately stabilize the workforce at all levels” and to “urgently” review the protection and the program.

They have also been asked to “accelerate” behavior improvement plans to keep the school safe.

The school, which inspectors say requires “special measures”, has been advised not to appoint “early career teachers”.

The report says those responsible for the direction, management or governance of the school “do not demonstrate the ability to deliver the necessary improvement”.

Mundy-Castle said: “We are obviously disappointed with the outcome of the report and recognize the shortcomings which have been highlighted by Ofsted.

“We are at the start of an ambitious improvement journey and are using Ofsted’s feedback as a catalyst for change, having already implemented several reforms.

“Above all, we have new leaders in place, including myself as interim director, as well as new staff in key areas of the program. We have identified and implemented key changes to program delivery and move toward a renewed focus on our behavior and attendance policies.

“Coppice Spring Academy continues to prioritize the learning and well-being of its students. We now have the strategic plans in place, with the full support of our Trust, to ensure that all areas highlighted for improvement are processed successfully and quickly.”

Catch-22 has confirmed that it has recruited a permanent director to start on January 1, 2023, who will work alongside Mr. Mundy-Castle during the term.

A spokesperson for Hampshire County Council added: ‘As part of a multi-academy trust, the performance of Coppice Spring School is independent of the local authority and this responsibility rests with the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) .

“However, as stated in the report, we undertook a visit to the school in November 2021 and subsequently expressed our concerns about the quality of provision. We are pleased that the school has begun to take action to address the identified challenges.

“The County Council is committed to providing high quality education in all settings and has therefore offered its support, regardless of its academy status, and will continue to work with the RSC and the academy as it progresses. as improvements are made.”

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