Failing Hextable school on special measures making 'reasonable progress'

This Is Local London: The Furness School. The Furness School.

A FAILING Hextable school placed on special measures by Ofsted is making “reasonable progress” despite continued poor attendance and violent student outbursts.

In May, a damning Ofsted inspection branded Furness School, in Rowhill Road, inadequate and a three-week closure and special measures followed.

News Shopper reported how the specialist school, which teaches students aged between 11 and 16 with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties, even installed razor-sharp wire on the school’s roof in a bid to control students.

Following another inspection on October 16 and 17, inspector Anne Duffey concluded the school is making “reasonable progress towards the removal of special measures.”

However, her report states pupils’ attendance remains below average, with only 15 of the schools 77 pupils boasting a 100 per cent attendance record this year.

Although Ms Duffey says the school “feels a much safer place,” she also writes in her five-page report how “incidents of violent behaviour or individual outbursts still exist.”

The previous report outlined how lessons were interrupted by students shouting and swearing and racist, sexually explicit and homophobic language went unchallenged by staff.

Ms Duffey highlighted further improvements.

She wrote: “A few Year 11 pupils gained GCSE grades A* to C, or equivalent, in art and in information and communication technology.

“For some pupils, progress in mathematics is accelerating.

“Better checks on pupils’ progress, including in reading, means the school is more able to give extra support for those who need it.”

Since the school re-opened in June, educational services provider Lilac Sky Schools agreed a three-year contract to run the school.

The new leadership team were described by Ms Duffey as having “a track record of success.”

She said their style has “made staff, students, and their parents and carers feel more secure and confident about the school’s future.”

Kent County Council cabinet member for education, learning and skills Mike Whiting said: “I’m particularly pleased Ofsted has recognised the progress being made by Furness School.

“Improvements came about after the council asked an experienced provider, Lilac Sky, to run the school on a three year contract.

“This partnership has had a positive impact on improving teaching and learning, pupils' behaviour and relationships with families.

“I have previously said that there is no room for complacency and, while the progress is good news, I believe everyone involved with this school wants, and expects, to see improvements continue.”

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