Nottingham

Nottingham school warned over 'unacceptably low' standards

Samworth Academy
Image caption Nottingham University said NUSA had been working to improve standards

A Nottingham school placed in special measures last November by education watchdog Ofsted has been ordered to improve by a schools minister.

Nottingham University Samworth Academy (NUSA) received a "pre-warning" letter saying it must raise "unacceptably low" standards or face further action.

In the document, Schools Minister Lord Nash told the academy to establish an action plan to address his concerns.

Nottingham University said NUSA was working to improve standards.

The academy, which is sponsored by Samworth Trust and the university, was rated good by Ofsted inspectors in 2012.

But the secondary school, which opened in Bilborough in 2010, replacing the William Sharp School, was downgraded to inadequate after the November inspection.

'Some way off'

Lord Nash wrote: "The standards of performance of pupils at Nottingham University Samworth Academy are unacceptably low."

He raised concerns that only 32% of pupils achieved at least five A*-C grades in their GCSEs last year, including English and maths.

This was down from 35% in 2012, below the government's minimum threshold of 40% and "some way off" the academy's own predictions of 44%.

Education Secretary Michael Gove believes low standards were likely continue at the school unless action was taken, Lord Nash claimed.

Academy co-sponsor Nottingham University said NUSA has been working with the Torch Academy Gateway Trust since October to improve standards.

Speaking on behalf of the school, Prof Alan Ford, pro-vice-chancellor for teaching and learning at the university, said: "As soon as it became clear that the GCSE results were not where they should be, we put a plan of action in place to improve teaching and learning, strengthen management and leadership, and improve results."

Jonathan Taylor, from Torch Academy Gateway Trust, said: "We have introduced a comprehensive staff development programme and we are evaluating every aspect of work in the school.

"A key focus of our work this year is to ensure that Year 11 students are fully prepared for their GCSE exams in the summer."

He added that the long-term plan was for all students at NUSA to have "clear targets and understand what they need to do to succeed".

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