Rugby Free Secondary School's 'huge disappointment' after being rated 'inadequate' in its first Ofsted inspection

The school is currently sited on Anderson Avenue. Photo: Google Streetview.
The school is currently sited on Anderson Avenue. Photo: Google Streetview.

Rugby Free Secondary School (RFSS) has spoken of its 'huge disappointment' after its first Ofsted inspection saw it rated as 'inadequate'.

RFSS opened in 2016 and is currently in temporary accommodation while work on its Rokeby site continues - with staff and pupils expected to move to that site in September this year.

Ofsted inspected the school on May 14 and 15 - its first every inspection.

A spokesperson for the trust which runs the school said circumstances outside of the control of trustees meant that the report was not published until today, July 18.

Issues highlighted by the report

The report states: "Senior leaders have an overgenerous view of their school׳s effectiveness.

"They have not acted to stem the decline at the school. Consequently, pupils' behaviour, the quality of teaching and the progress pupils make, especially middle-ability pupils, are weak.

"The quality of teaching is marred by inconsistencies. While some teaching meets the needs of pupils, mainly for the most able, a significant proportion of teaching is weak and does not ensure that pupils, especially those of middle ability, make the progress they should.

"Pupils do not consistently demonstrate positive attitudes to learning. They choose which teachers they will behave for and which they will not.

"Too many arrive late to lessons and leave lessons throughout for no apparent reasons. Leaders and teachers do not deal effectively with this type of behaviour."

The report adds that 'weak' communication from the leaders has caused a breakdown in relations with staff, causing 'extremely low' morale.

A spokesperson for Learning Today Leading Tomorrow, the academy trust which runs RFSS and Rugby Free Primary School, said: "There is no disguising the huge disappointment felt by all involved with the school.

"As a Trust, we have already apologised unreservedly to the parents and carers who have placed their children in our care and to those who have chosen Rugby Free Secondary School for their child from September 2019.

"We have made members of the Senior Leadership Team of the school available to meet with individual parents and carers until the end of term and will be continuing to answer correspondence from parents over the Summer as quickly as we are able.

"A series of parent/carer meetings will be held in our new purpose-built secondary school in the first week of September and invitations will be sent out to parents and carers shortly."

Where is the head teacher?

Readers told the Advertiser that headteacher Christine Green left the school following the inspection.

A spokesperson for the trust said: "Christine Green, the headteacher, is currently not in school. Further details have to remain confidential.

"Mathew Gaynon, deputy head is currently deputising for Mrs Green and is being supported by Mr Shirley, Mrs Mullen and Mrs Roberts.

"The Trust will be making no further comment on this matter until it is resolved."

Des Shirley the new deputy headteacher, interviewed and appointed shortly after the Ofsted inspection and the trust said was the outstanding candidate in the field.

The Trust secured an early release from Mr Shirley’s previous employer and he joined the school on July 1 with special responsibility for behaviour, student welfare and inclusion.

Since his appointment, he has been in school working with the CEO Mrs Roberts and the rest of the leadership team.

The school is aiming for a at least a 'good'rating next time - here's how it plans to get there.

The spokesperson for the trust said: "The day after the inspection, the Trust took executive control of the school and instructed Brenda Mullen, the Trust’s chief executive officer, to assume direct management responsibility for the school.

"The trust charged the CEO with developing a recovery plan for the school. This is being developed in collaboration with senior and middle leaders at the school, and with close assistance from Heather Roberts, the former Headteacher of the Outstanding Aston Manor Academy in Birmingham."

The spokesperson added that the trust's board is setting up a Sustainable Improvement Board (SIB) to govern the school.

The SIB’s aim is to help the school to address serious weaknesses and enable the school to secure an Ofsted category of at least Good at its next inspection.

This new body will be chaired by Tom Legge, vice chair of trustees and previously the chair of the Local Governing Body that took Rugby Free Primary School through its first Ofsted inspection wherein it received a judgement of Good with Outstanding for behaviour, personal development and well-being.

The SIB will work with a new and hugely important Parents’ Advisory Board (PAB) to facilitate effective communication with parents/carers during the turn-round period.

Addressing Ofsted's comments on the behaviour of pupils at the school, the spokesperson for the trust said: "It appears that there has been a significant and rapid deterioration in behaviour since the turn of the year.

"Immediately after the inspection, interviews were conducted with all staff and groups of students to gather a clear picture of the position in school.

"A significant change resulting from these interviews was the move to the a timetable implemented in the last two weeks of term.

"This moved from eight 40 minute periods to five 60 minute periods in the day.

"Another significant development was the establishment of a ‘positive behaviour task and finish group’. This group has had an immediate impact in school, re-enforcing existing policies that had been allowed to slip or that had not been applied consistently."

In its report, Ofted states that the Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow trust has begun to address the weaknesses at the school, adding that the trust is: "Well placed to continue its improvement work."

Click here to see the report in full.