Acad­emy trust to take over school af­ter bad re­port

Group has achieved im­prove­ments else­where

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - News - By Joshua Coupe

A fail­ing sec­ondary school which was rapped by Of­sted will be taken over in a bid to im­prove stan­dards.

Swade­lands School in Len­ham was put into spe­cial mea­sures af­ter be­ing branded in­ad­e­quate by the ed­u­ca­tion watch­dog in Fe­bru­ary.

It has now been re­vealed the sec­ondary, which has 650 pupils on the roll, will be­come part of the Val­ley In­victa Acad­e­mies Trust (VIAT) in a bid to im­prove teach­ing.

The trust, which runs In­victa Gram­mar School and Val­ley Park School, both in Hunts­man Lane, Maid­stone, was ap­proached by the re­gional schools com­mis­sioner and asked to make Swade­lands, in Ham Lane, Len­ham, part of the group.

Dr Phil Lim­bert, VIAT’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, said: “The re­gional com­mis­sioner asked we make the school a spon­sored acad­emy un­der the trust.

“This is an­other ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­nity for pupils and par­ents in Maid­stone, and I look for­ward to in­form­ing you of our de­vel­op­ments in build­ing a suc­cess­ful multi-acad­emy trust.”

The team, which runs the out­stand­ing-rated In­victa Gram­mar School was pre­vi­ously ap­pointed to turn around Val­ley Park School, which was also con­demned by Of­sted. The sec­ondary is now rated out­stand­ing.

The damn­ing Swade­lands re­port said teach­ing does not mo­ti­vate pupils and ex­pec­ta­tions were low, even among brighter stu­dents. It added at­ten­dance was be­low av­er­age and lead­er­ship had not en­sured as­sess­ments of pupils’ work and progress are made.

Fol­low­ing the judge­ment, for­mer in­terim ex­ec­u­tive head teacher Harry Ing­ham, who was ap­pointed in Jan­uary, wrote to par­ents.

He said: “The key find­ing is the school is in­ad­e­quate and re­quires spe­cial mea­sures in or­der to pro­vide an im­proved stan­dard of ed­u­ca­tion.

“We un­der­stand you will be dis­ap­pointed by the out­come, but I would like to point out this judge­ment does not re­flect the qual­i­ties of the young peo­ple who at­tend Swade­lands.”

Mr Ing­ham has now com­pleted his in­terim pe­riod and for­mer Val­ley Park head teacher Vic Ash­down has been ap­pointed to run the sec­ondary.

VIAT, which will cre­ate a free school in Maid­stone, also spon­sors four pri­mary schools.

‘The key find­ing is the school is in­ad­e­quate and re­quires spe­cial mea­sures’

Vic Ash­down has been ap­pointed head teacher at Swade­lands School

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