Greenwich Free School requires improvement, Ofsted says

This Is Local London: The Greenwich Free School The Greenwich Free School

Greenwich's first free school requires improvement in teaching and leadership, Ofsted inspectors say.

The Greenwich Free School (GFS), based in Shooters Hill, opened in September 2012 with 100 pupils and has since taken on 100 more. Praised by Michael Gove, it immediately made headlines with a zero-tolerance approach to mobile phone use by pupils.

But its first ever Ofsted inspection has revealed concerns over pupil achievement, teaching quality and leadership.

In their report, inspectors wrote: "Too few students make good progress across the different subjects taught in the school.

"Lower-ability students fall behind in some lessons because the teaching does not cater for their needs."

And they said: "Leaders monitor teaching regularly but they do not focus sufficiently on the impact of teaching on students’ learning over time.

"In the school’s first year, arrangements for checking students’ progress did not provide leaders or governors with an accurate view of the school’s performance."

But elsewhere in the report the school - whose first head teacher Lee Faith left after just a year at the helm - is praised for its curriculum, pupils' personal development and their good behaviour.

A new head teacher Oliver Knight,  the founding vice principal of the renowned Ark Academy, is due to take over this June.

The school said in a statement: "We're pleased that the two inspectors highlighted a few of GFS's excellent features - including our pupils' behaviour, the design of the curriculum, the great extra-curricular activities and the strength of the governing body.

"But we're obviously disappointed in the overall conclusion the inspectors drew from our first year's internal data - and were surprised by how markedly it differed from the various feedback GFS has otherwise received from parents and visiting educationalists.

"Nevertheless, the senior leadership team and governing body take the inspectors' views - like all feedback - very seriously and GFS's new headteacher, who was appointed shortly before the inspection to start work later this term, will be overseeing GFS's continued progress and response to the inspectors' findings.

"Everyone at the school will continue to work hard to deliver an excellent education for every pupil - and we look forward to practising the very 'growth mindset' we see in our pupils, as we continue to grow."

Comments (3)

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8:41am Tue 29 Apr 14

Urban Logger says...

Millions of public money spent on this school setting it up and buying the sites. No consideration given to its location - there is another school just around the corner ! Another expensive Gove scam for the benefit of his mates who set it up. All ready now for the Ark Academy Trust to take it over. Nice one if you know the right people who must be laughing all the way to the bank.
Millions of public money spent on this school setting it up and buying the sites. No consideration given to its location - there is another school just around the corner ! Another expensive Gove scam for the benefit of his mates who set it up. All ready now for the Ark Academy Trust to take it over. Nice one if you know the right people who must be laughing all the way to the bank. Urban Logger
  • Score: 1

7:51am Wed 14 May 14

Greenwich Resident says...

There was certainly a need for another secondary school in the borough of Greenwich and its location isn't a problem. It still remains the most oversubscribed school in the borough which pretty much says it all in my books. I know the school 'around the corner' and would homeschool rather than send my child there.

My child is a pupil at the GFS and I don't have any complaints and was incredibly shocked regarding the outcome of the OFSTED report which took well over two months to publish. What the report does not state is that GFS do not use National Curriculum levels to assess progress unlike other schools, so they were working with unfamiliar data which they clearly could not grasp!

There is also the fact that the inspectors were from Tribal Group, a private company who OFSTED employ to carry out inspections in South London. They have been in the press recently and not in a positive light. http://www.theguardi
an.com/education/201
4/mar/05/ofsted-insp
ection-system-state-
school-problems-ascl


What the OFSTED report also neglected to mention was that over 80% of lessons observed were good or outstanding.... yet they still graded teaching as requiring improvement - makes no sense to me.

It is not uncommon for new schools (state or free) to be graded this way on their first inspection; Prendergast Vale College, Lewisham too received a grade 3 on its first inspection, think we'd all do well to remember that 'requires improvement' is the old 'satisfactory'. Don't get me wrong I accept no school is perfect and there is always room for improvement and as a parent I welcome this.

For those parents whose children are due to start GFS in September, don't be too disheartened, take this report with a pinch of salt as it is not a clear refection of the school at all. My child is happy, learning loads and doing well, I'm confident I made the right decision to send him there.
There was certainly a need for another secondary school in the borough of Greenwich and its location isn't a problem. It still remains the most oversubscribed school in the borough which pretty much says it all in my books. I know the school 'around the corner' and would homeschool rather than send my child there. My child is a pupil at the GFS and I don't have any complaints and was incredibly shocked regarding the outcome of the OFSTED report which took well over two months to publish. What the report does not state is that GFS do not use National Curriculum levels to assess progress unlike other schools, so they were working with unfamiliar data which they clearly could not grasp! There is also the fact that the inspectors were from Tribal Group, a private company who OFSTED employ to carry out inspections in South London. They have been in the press recently and not in a positive light. http://www.theguardi an.com/education/201 4/mar/05/ofsted-insp ection-system-state- school-problems-ascl What the OFSTED report also neglected to mention was that over 80% of lessons observed were good or outstanding.... yet they still graded teaching as requiring improvement - makes no sense to me. It is not uncommon for new schools (state or free) to be graded this way on their first inspection; Prendergast Vale College, Lewisham too received a grade 3 on its first inspection, think we'd all do well to remember that 'requires improvement' is the old 'satisfactory'. Don't get me wrong I accept no school is perfect and there is always room for improvement and as a parent I welcome this. For those parents whose children are due to start GFS in September, don't be too disheartened, take this report with a pinch of salt as it is not a clear refection of the school at all. My child is happy, learning loads and doing well, I'm confident I made the right decision to send him there. Greenwich Resident
  • Score: 0

8:22am Thu 22 May 14

Urban Logger says...

As a taxpayer I would have no objection to homeschooling, it would be more cost effective then spending millions on a Gove vanity project that is socially divisive and unaccountable to local democracy. However, if you want to send your child to a building site, that's your choice. I like the idea of Ofsted not understanding the data. Why dont you ask Gove and his chums to abolish Ofsted and then you can do what you like.
By the way what happened to the Headteacher who suddenly left at Christmas, what's the real story ?
As a taxpayer I would have no objection to homeschooling, it would be more cost effective then spending millions on a Gove vanity project that is socially divisive and unaccountable to local democracy. However, if you want to send your child to a building site, that's your choice. I like the idea of Ofsted not understanding the data. Why dont you ask Gove and his chums to abolish Ofsted and then you can do what you like. By the way what happened to the Headteacher who suddenly left at Christmas, what's the real story ? Urban Logger
  • Score: -1

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