Rugby Free Secondary School threatened with closure if rapid improvements are not made

A schools commissioner has written to the trust behind Rugby Free Secondary School (RFSS), threatening it with closure if rapid improvements are not made.

Friday, 11th October 2019, 4:25 pm
Updated Friday, 11th October 2019, 5:25 pm
The school's temporary Anderson Avenue site. Photo: Google Streetview.

The school, which opened in 2016, was rated as 'inadequate' in its first ever Ofsted inspection which was conducted this summer.

Among the findings of the report were senior leaders being too overconfident and not acting quickly enough to stop the decline of the school.

Other issues included 'too many' children turning up late to lessons, causing low-level disruptions or walking out of classes for no apparent reason.

In July, when the report was published, a spokesperson for Learning Today Leading Tomorrow, the trust which runs the school, said there was no hiding their extreme disappointment.

And on September 17 Andrew Warren, regional schools commissioner for the West Midlands, wrote to chair of trustees David Johnson.

Mr Warren warned Mr Johnson that if significant and rapid improvements were not made the school could have its funding stopped.

He gave the trust a deadline of Wednesday, October 9, to submit information in their defence, including a copy of their post-Ofsted action plan.

He also requested that on October 24 a meeting be held between representatives from his office, the chair of the school trust and the CEO of the trust.

Learning Today Leading Tomorrow responds

Brenda Mullen, CEO of the trust, told the Advertiser the letter that the trust received is part of a standard procedure undertaken when a school gets an 'inadequete' rating.

She added: “The trust’s and the school’s leaders have already implemented significant improvements since the inspection six months ago and these have been welcomed by the vast majority of students, staff and parents.

"We have full confidence that, when Ofsted return, inspectors will recognise that the school is on a strong upward trajectory.

"Our absolute commitment is to ensure that our students have the best education possible and we continue to work hard every day to achieve that.

"While we completely understand the interest and concern caused by the reporting of the letter from DfE, we will not let this distract us from the work that is being carried out day in day out to make Rugby Free Secondary a school that the whole community can be proud of.

"We would ask anyone with any specific concerns to discuss these directly with the school.”

Letter to parents in response to article in The Times newspaper

Today, October 11, the trust wrote to parents of RFSS in response to an article published in The Times newspaper which mentioned that the school had been threatened with closure.

That letter, which the trust also showed to the Advertiser, states: "You may be aware that there was an article published about our school in The Times newspaper today.

"The article highlights the weaknesses identified by Ofsted, which we are all aware of and acting upon.

"It also mentions a statement for Andrew Warren the Regional School commissioner which may seem alarming.

"This is a standard letter all schools who are in inadequate or worse receive and represents part of the process we are going through to improve the school.

"We have halved the number of students late in school in the last week and students are reporting that disruption in lessons has significantly reduced over the last few weeks.

"We are committed to continuing to improve standards of behaviour significant to ensure we are both providing the best education for all our students, and to ensure we are prepared for our next inspection."