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Park House School – recently rated inadequate by Ofsted – has been transferred to a new academy trust

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A Newbury school that was rated inadequate by Ofsted has been taken over by a new academy trust.

In a letter sent to parents at Park House School, and seen by newburytoday, Greenshaw Learning Trust said it “expected to take responsibility” for the school from September 1 this year.

The transfer had to be approved by the Department for Education and Will Smith, CEO at Greenshaw, said he was “delighted to confirm” the news.

Park House School has been transferred to the Greenshaw Learning Trust
Park House School has been transferred to the Greenshaw Learning Trust

“The Greenshaw Learning Trust has a track record of improving schools and has the necessary experience and capacity to start working with the teachers and students at Park House this term,” he added in the letter.

“Over the next few weeks, there will be opportunities for parents, carers, and students to meet key members of staff and hear about our plans for the school.

“We look forward to working with the Park House School community to ensure every young person has the opportunity to fulfil their potential.”

Last week the chairwoman of Transform Learning Trust, which currently runs the school, said the board had begun working on a transfer plan at the start of the year and it wasn’t a direct result of the recent damning report.

Coleen Jackson said the trust took the “tough decision” in January to ask for the school to be transferred to a new trust.

“We wanted to make sure there was a bright future for Park House,” she added. “We aren’t saying now, because of the Ofsted report, that we are going to resign or move on. We started that process in January...because we realised as a single school multi-academy trust we cannot give that school the support it needed.”

In the report inspectors pointed to “significant weaknesses” at the 1,200 pupil school, caused by ongoing changes to senior leadership and governance.

It said: "Park House School is in a state of turmoil.

"Since the last inspection, ongoing changes to senior leadership and governance have impacted negatively on the school’s ethos and direction.

"This is reflected in the significant weaknesses identified during this inspection."

The school was the only one in the Transform Learning Trust, whereas the Greenshaw Learning Trust, a charitable company with the sole purpose of maintaining and developing academy schools, has 25 schools.

The Sutton-based trust is a DfE approved sponsor of both primary and secondary schools across South London, Surrey, Berkshire, Gloucestershire, Bristol and Plymouth.

The recent inspection of Park House, which took place with just 15 minutes notice on April 5 and 6 after parents and staff raised concerns with Ofsted, said the school was in “turmoil” and safeguarding arrangements are “not effective”.

The inspection highlighted that many pupils said they felt unsafe at school and that their learning is disrupted by the poor behaviour of others.

It deemed the quality of education; behaviour and attitude; and leadership and management as inadequate.

The sixth form, which has 145 pupils, and personal development both require improvement, giving the school an overall effectiveness rating of inadequate. Its previous rating, from an inspection in October 2019, was good.

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