Government is reconsidering forced academisation of William Torbitt Primary School
PUBLISHED: 07:00 13 February 2019
The forced academisation of William Torbitt Primary School is being reviewed by the Department for Education (DfE) after its Ofsted rating rapidly improved.
The school, in Eastern Avenue, Newbury Park, was rated Good in an Ofsted report released last week – an improvement on the Inadequate score it received last summer which highlighted “safeguarding concerns”.
In June last year – following the poor rating – the DfE issued William Torbitt an academisation order, triggering a protest campaign to keep the school under local authority control.
Asked whether this order would now be revoked, a DfE spokesman said: “We are currently considering the latest Ofsted visit of William Torbitt Primary School, and more information will be available in due course.”
The spokesman did not confirm when any update would be announced.
The latest report praises senior leaders 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.
Ilford North MP Wes Streeting visited the school on Monday (February 11) and has written to education secretary Damian Hinds calling for the order to be scrapped.
He said: “I cannot see what forcing the school to become an academy would now achieve except significant disruption for staff and students.”
Redbridge Council has also written to the government to oppose the academisation plans and parents, staff and union reps have held protests outside of the school and Redbridge Town Hall, in High Road.
Councillor Elaine Norman, the borough’s cabinet member for children and young people, said the recent Ofsted rating is a fantastic result.
She added: “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.”