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New Fulwood Academy headteacher pledges to bring change after damning Ofsted report

Posted on - 28th April, 2019 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Cadley, College, Fulwood, Preston News, Schools
Philip Grant, started at Fulwood Academy on 25 February, a day before Ofsted came in to inspect it
Philip Grant, started at Fulwood Academy on 25 February, a day before Ofsted came in to inspect it

The newly appointed headteacher of a Fulwood school placed into special measures by education inspectors has vowed to turn things round.

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He has issued a warning to unruly pupils, and families not backing the school, to get onboard with his plan for action.

Philip Grant, brought in by billionaire tycoon backer of Fulwood Academy Sir Charles Dunstone, has promised ‘actions will be loud, and they will be heard and seen’.

The Academy in Black Bull Lane was rated inadequate in every area during a damning visit from Ofsted inspectors who said bullying is rife, teachers are not challenging pupils and one inspector was nearly hit with a water bottle.

Principal Mr Grant said: “The Ofsted report, which is now effectively two months old, is concerning for anyone that has a connection to the Academy, but I was asked to join the school by the Governors to lead on significant change that’s required and that is exactly what is happening now.

“Following the report, we implemented a rapid improvement plan which is having an impact. This plan focuses on behaviour, teaching and learning, curriculum and overall the quality of education students receive.

“We’ve already tackled behaviour and children now understand what is required of them and that staff and the local community are respected. Students are now aware that their actions will have a consequence, and a sanction.

“A majority of parents are extremely supportive and are helping us. As in life, there are a very small minority of families who are choosing not to buy into the Academy’s values and new expectations and are resisting these new changes. Whilst we are an inclusive school, unfortunately, if this small number do not subscribe to our values and expectations we may not be in a position to accommodate them at this school. It is that simple.

“Ultimately, we’re invested in the success of the students and the Academy, but I am conscious that actions are louder than words. These actions will be loud, and they will be heard and seen.

“I knew what challenges lay ahead of me, but contrary to the Ofsted report which seems slightly out of date now, the school has a sound financial platform, a building which has some of the best facilities in the North and staff that are fully committed to seeing the Academy succeed.

“I don’t want to be seen to be glossing over the findings in the report and I know there are key challenges ahead of us, but I am confident that if the Ofsted inspectors came now, they’d already see a different school.”

The previous regime was swept away with new governors brought in including a relatively new chair of governors Joan Dean.

She said: “As Trustees we have worked closely with Sir Charles Dunstone, our sponsor, and Academy leaders to drive improvement. We can assure parents and the community that we are passionate about improving outcomes for students at the school and care about each and every student. We are determined that all students will ‘get a good deal’ and will work tirelessly to ensure this happens.

“I am sure parents and students are aware of the changes that have been made since the inspection. These are already having a positive impact on behaviour and teaching and learning. The Trustees look forward to meeting parents to outline more of the changes being introduced and to share the actions we are taking to ensure the academy provides excellence for all students.”

Read more: Fulwood Academy pays tribute to staff member who died

Mr Grant joined from the One In A Million free school in Bradford. It opened in September 2013, was rated as requiring improvement in its first Ofsted inspection in November 2015 under a different principal before Mr Grant achieved a good rating in March 2018. The school was half the size of Fulwood Academy in terms of pupil numbers.

What Sir Charles Dunstone had to say

The Carphone Warehouse founder said: “The Trustees and I were concerned that the school was not making enough progress and decided that a change of leadership was necessary. We chose Philip Grant as our new head last October, he had to give notice to his previous school and only started on the first day after half term this February. Coincidentally, this was exactly the same date that Ofsted chose to come and inspect the school.

“Philip has an incredible reputation as a very strong Principal who has turned around a number of schools and having seen him in action over the past six weeks, he has convinced us all that we made the right choice.

“None of the issues recorded in the report have anything to do with Philip’s leadership and the report simply confirms what the Governors and I concluded last summer. He has hit the ground running and Fulwood Academy is already a different school to the one visited by the inspectors for this report.

“We remain totally committed to delivering a first-class education and preparation for adult life at Fulwood.”

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