'Confusion' and concern at Trust plans for school

PUBLISHED: 16:55 06 May 2009 | UPDATED: 11:50 12 August 2010

A SCHOOL on special measures is hoping to improve its academic record by founding a Trust. Bexleyheath School has been in negotiations to

A SCHOOL on special measures is hoping to improve its academic record by founding a Trust.

Bexleyheath School has been in negotiations to team up with another secondary school and an educational foundation for four months. As yet teachers and parents have not been told of the plan, which is expected to give staff more advice and support from outside the school whilst sharing management tips.

A Bexley teacher who tipped off the Times about the plans, said: "I think a number of the people who work there are a little bit upset and confused about what is going on. I was told that they are going to bring in consultants from as far away as Middlesbrough to support the school. Staff have been told to reapply for their jobs and some are being told they have to work full time."

The second school involved has not been named but, under a Trust, the two schools would share teaching experience and also receive help from an outside educational Trust.

Welling School joined the Kemnal Trust, with Kemnal Technology College, Bromley, and two Essex schools, whilst on Special Measures in September 2008.

Ofsted removed the school from Special Measures last December, noting that joining a Trust had benefits, including saving money on equipment and access to specialist skills.

Simon Windle, Bexley cabinet member for schools, said: "The negotiations are fairly close to being settled, I think we can expect a decision to be reached in the summer.

"Apart from getting better results, hopefully the pupils won't notice much difference."

Bexleyheath School was put onto Special Measures in 2007 after Ofsted inspectors gave the school an overall 'inadequate' rating. In its latest monitoring report, Ofsted noted that the school needed to improve subject leaders' understanding of their role in 'school improvement and lines of accountability'.

Mr Windle added: "Any school is entitled to apply to become a Trust but it is usually ones in need that would want to do it. Ofsted is looking for successful schools to put their feelers out to help the wider community."

A Bexley council spokesman said no decision had been made nor any consultation, but that its policy was for large schools to form 'strategic alliances'.

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