UPDATE: School ‘unable to deliver teaching even at the most basic level’

jpco-27-11-13 Discovery New School (Pic by Jon Rigby)
jpco-27-11-13 Discovery New School (Pic by Jon Rigby)

The Department for Education has said staff at Crawley’s Discovery New School are ‘unable to deliver teaching even at the most basic level’.

The Parliamentary under-secretary of state for schools, John Nash, has written to the school in Broadfield saying there has been little progress in the quality of teaching since it went into special measures in May.

The latest action plan sent by the school has not convinced the DfE it can improve. Funding to the school will be withdrawn forcing it to close.

Lord Nash writes in a letter to chair of governors Chris Cook: “We know from inspection evidence that teaching and learning is inadequate in DNS, and that there has been little or no improvement since Ofsted’s judgement that the school required special measures in May.

“The number and nature of the actions and milestones to be achieved demonstrates that the staff are currently unable to deliver teaching and learning even at the most basic level with the consequence for the pupils of continued inadequate teaching for an unacceptable length of time. Further, the training implication for staff is enormous.”

Since the school’s co-founder Lindsey Snowdon was suspended as headteacher in September it has been run by interim head Penny Crocker.

Lord Nash writes: “The plan ignores the implications of the interim head being in post only until April. Further, the plans to improve the capacity and capability of the governing body by bringing in new governors are insufficiently well developed.

“Overall, I am not satisfied from the FAS that the Academy Trust has the capacity to make adequate progress and I have no confidence that the Academy Trust plans will enable it to recruit and retain the high-quality permanent staff and senior leadership that it needs in order to improve at a rapid pace.”

The school will close on April 4 giving enough time for West Sussex County Council to find places for all the pupils and for parents to submit their preferences.