Following the sudden decision in July to transform Croxteth Primary into an academy, Liverpool City Council is launching a review into the process.
After the recent Ofsted inspection, where the school was deemed ‘inadequate’, steps were very swiftly made to academise the school under the Rainbow Education Multi-Academy Trust. The law that determines whether schools should enter forced academisation comes from central government, meaning there was little the council could do to halt it.
However, when the school was last inspected in 2013, it received a ‘good’ rating from Ofsted, and had a further monitoring visit in February 2016, when it was reviewed as having taken ‘effective action to maintain the high standards of behaviour and attitudes identified at the previous inspection’.
This means that, essentially, in two years, the school has rapidly deteriorated to such a point that its fate has been removed from the council’s hands.
The speed at which the school has supposedly declined has led people to begin asking questions.
How does a good school become so poor in such a short space of time? What interim measures were taken to ensure that this did not occur?
School Improvement Liverpool, an arm of Liverpool City Council, provides training and support services to the city’s schools; its purpose is make sure that schools are achieving to the best of their ability. How, then, did ‘Little Crocky’ fall through the cracks?
These questions that have arisen are why the council has launched a review into the process. £5.4m has been spent on the school, making it a valuable asset to the community, and the reason there has been interest from academies.
When the Rainbow Trust first entered the school in March, after the Ofsted report, parents asked whether the school was being taken over by the Trust – they were told: ‘no’. Academies, as was reported in the last issue of Alt Valley Voice, are not beholden to a local authority, they have complete control over their own curriculum, and also can employ teachers who are not qualified. There is also evidence that schools that remain under local authority control after being deemed ‘inadequate’ perform better than schools that are converted into academies.
Joe Anderson, along with Croxteth councillor Joann Kushner, came to the Communiversity in Croxteth in August, to meet with some of the concerned parents. He assured them that the council would review the process, looking into the speed of the transition, and whether any possible oversights have been made.
Parents are in the dark over when the transformation into an academy will be finalised – so what next for Little Crocky?
by Phillipa Williams