One of Doncaster’s biggest schools put in ‘special measures’ by inspectors

Balby Carr Community Sports College Headteacher Martin Craig.
Balby Carr Community Sports College Headteacher Martin Craig.

DONCASTER’S last remaining local authority-run secondary school has been put in special measures after inspectors raised concerns over a series of failings in its work.

Balby Carr Community Sports and Science College, the only secondary school in the borough not to have converted to an academy, was rated inadequate overall, as Ofsted said it was not good enough for pupil achievement, quality of teaching and leadership and management.

The school has slated the report, which head teacher Martin Craig said he does not believe is fair and balanced and fails to highlight pupils’ success.

Ofsted said the behaviour and safety of the pupils needs to be improved, and the school has been ordered to improve teaching and increase expectations of its 1,167 pupils.

The report highlights achievement in many subjects, including maths as being inadequate. It says provision for pupils with special needs is weak.

It describes teaching in the sixth form as inadequate, with sixth formers making too little progress.

It says many pupils’ weak literacy and numeracy skills limit their progress in other subjects, and too often tasks are not matched to pupils’ different needs. They do not get enough guidance on how to improve.

Not all teachers make sure pupils are developing positive attitudes to learning, and leaders efforts to improve the school are labelled inadequate.

It says governors have not checked that leaders at the school are taking the right steps to ensure the college is effective. But it states there is some good teaching at the school and achievement is adequate in some subjects, including English. Provision for sport is strong and some innovative arrangements exist for caring for more vulnerable pupils.

Headteacher Martin Craig has hit back at the report. He said: “We do not believe this is a fair and balanced report and does not highlight the many successes our children have achieved over the past three years.”

“We know and trust our students, parents and families will identify the progress and good work that has taken place to improve the school over the past years and you can be confident that we are resolved and determined to ensure our students will continue to receive the finest education possible in the future.

“We hope and trust that families who know the work we have done will recognise that we will continue to work tirelessly to improve standards at Balby Carr. I am very sorry and upset that the hard work that children have undertaken and the successes they have achieved has been dismissed in such a way and I hope and trust that children and families who have continued to celebrate their champagne moments over the past seven years do not have their successes devalued by this report. Our students have worked hard for their achievements and successes and they deserve to hold their heads high. I take full responsibility and have already reviewed my on-going contribution with the governors.”

“We do not believe that the recent report reflects the on-going ethos and culture changes or the rapidly and sustainable improvements seen over the last four years, nor does the report recognise the hard work that has been undertaken to achieve these improvements by students, staff and families.

The school and its pupils will now receive external support and funding to try to improve. It will change the way it is governed and become a sponsored academy in the near future.

The school was graded satisfactory in its previous inspection, and has improved results from 25 per cent passing five or more GCSEs at A* to C, including English and Maths, to 48 per cent in 2012. It was recognised by the Government as one of the top 100 schools nationally for sustained improvement from 2008-2011.

Chris Pratt, director of children and young people’s service, said: “There has been considerable improvements in Balby Carr School in recent years, but as Ofsted highlight further work is required, particularly in mathematics attainment and the quality of some teaching. The local authority is working actively with the governing body and headteacher.

“There is a strong commitment in the School to make these improvements and we are confident that these can be made in a timely and sustainable way.”