Could William Torbitt be saved from academisation? School celebrates rapid Ofsted improvement

A crowd gathers in protest of the forced academisation of William Torbitt Primary School outside Red

A crowd gathers in protest of the forced academisation of William Torbitt Primary School outside Redbridge Town Hall, in High Road, ahead of a full council meeting on January 17, 2018. - Credit: Archant

Redbridge Council hopes the government will revoke plans to turn William Torbitt school into an academy after it was rated Good in its latest Ofsted report.

The school, in Eastern Avenue, Newbury Park, was initially given an academisation order by the Department for Education following a poor Ofsted score in summer 2018. - much to the chagrin of parents, staff and the local authority.

However senior leaders have now been praised for transforming the school into a safe place where children “thrive in a positive, nurturing environment”.

Inspectors particularly highlighted the leadership of the interim headteacher, Clare Pike, and consultant deputy headteacher, Pavenjit Kettory, who are “excellent role models”, headed by a “proactive and well informed” governing body.

“We are thrilled that inspectors have recognised the significant improvements that we have made, and in only 12 weeks since the last report,” said Ms Pike

“We had a clear vision of where the school needed to be and by introducing a whole new behaviour system, changing the learning environment and having a fantastic team of dedicated teachers, this was made possible.”

Governor chairman, Rajesh Zala, added: “We always believed William Torbitt could make the changes needed without being converted into an academy and we now hope the government will reconsider their plans after the recent inspection.

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“Our team of consultant leaders and assistant headteachers have proved that staff have the capacity to improve in all the areas identified in an inspection report only published in September.

“Governors have the skills to hold leaders to account for further improvement and we are confident in the ongoing support of Redbridge Council.”

The council has written to the government to oppose the plans to academise the primary school and parents, staff and union reps held a protest outside of the school.

Councillor Elaine Norman, the borough’s cabinet member for children and young people, said the recent Ofsted rating is a fantastic result.

“The report highlights the excellent progress by the school since the June 2018 inspection, thanks to peer support from other schools and teachers and the dedicated work of the council’s schools improvement team,” she said.

“It also demonstrates that we have the capacity to rapidly improve a school through swift action.

“The council hopes that the Regional Schools Commissioner and ministers will now consider the report carefully and will decide that forced academisation is definitely not needed now to turn this school around.”