Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Troubled Sandown Bay Academy rated 'inadequate'

Image caption Parents and children have protested against plans to merge Sandown and Ryde Academies

A troubled secondary school on the Isle of Wight is set to be placed in special measures.

Sandown Bay Academy has been rated "inadequate" by Ofsted because of "ineffective leadership at all levels".

Inspectors said the school's sponsor, Academies Enterprise Trust (AET), also failed to deal effectively with a "debilitating cyber-attack".

Isle of Wight councillors voted in May to ask the government to oust AET "off the island altogether".

'Pupils let down'

In April, the head teacher resigned and the trust replaced the board of governors.

Ofsted inspectors, who visited the following month, said pupils had been "let down in the quality of education they receive for too long".

The report said grades had fallen since 2015 and "too many pupils are persistently absent".

It said AET had not supported the school following the cyber-attack which resulted in a "widespread loss of important documents", including pupil progress reports, teaching plans and exam work.

Image caption AET said it acknowledged it had not driven up standards

Ofsted praised the behaviour of pupils and a unit for pupils with autism.

On 25 May, the day after inspectors left, AET announced plans to close the Sandown site as part of a previously-declared "merger" with Ryde Academy, 6 miles (10km) away.

Explaining its proposal, AET said income at Sandown Bay had dropped by £5m in five years.

Sandown Bay Academy - Timeline

  • September 2011 - Opens under AET management on the sites of two closed schools in Sandown
  • March 2013 - Rated "inadequate" by Ofsted school inspectors
  • November 2014 - Ofsted rating upgraded to "requires improvement"
  • March 2017 - AET reduces a £850,000 savings target to less than £250,000 "following discussions with the head teacher"
  • April 2017 - Head teacher resigns and the board of governors is replaced
  • May 2017 - AET announces plans to merge the school with Ryde Academy
  • May 2017 - Isle of Wight Council votes to ask the government to oust AET "off the island altogether"
  • July 2017 - Rated "inadequate" by Ofsted again

A six-week consultation by AET on the merger plan runs until 6 July, while Isle of Wight Council is holding a separate consultation on rival plans to retain secondary education in Sandown.

In a statement, the trust said: "We acknowledge that AET has not succeeded in driving forward the educational improvements at Sandown Bay that we would all wish to see."

It said it had replaced the governors and head teacher with an "experienced" management board and "new leadership team".

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