IES Breckland admits it it is sub-standard as Ofsted report due to be published soon
|Matthew Hancock MP with the SABRES trust mascot|
Speaking to the TES an IES spokesperson said:
We inspected our school in Breckland after the former principal stepped down and decided that it wasn’t representative of our schools or our vision of how our schools should be. With this in mind we set to work to make improvements at the school so that it could provide the education the students deserve.Unsurprisingly IES aren't exactly expecting the Ofsted inspection to go well and this is all beginning to look like an exercise in managing bad news before it breaks.
This impression is even stronger in an article in the Telegraph by Spectator editor Fraser Nelson (which itself is based on an earlier spectator article). Nelson predicts the school is likely to be judged inadequate and I seriously doubt any bookies in Brandon would take a bet on this now. Nelsons says:
But then, a week before the new head teacher was due to start, the inspectors called. Ofsted had been tipped off that there was trouble and found a school that was, to put it politely, in transition. Ofsted’s report has yet to be published but, given the circumstances of the inspection, it would not be surprising if IES Breckland were categorised as “inadequate” – the worst result. For the teaching unions, who loathe reform in general and profit-seeking schools in particular, this will be seen as vindication. It would be taken as proof that the much-hullabaloo’d Swedish system is failing in Britain and that Michael Gove’s experiment is heading for disaster.
However Nelson doesn't accept this as proof of failure instead seeing it as an inevitable consequence of "the market" which has to have failure to create success:
The test is not whether schools stumble – the test is whether they can recover, and, if not, how fast they can be closed.Nelson appears to be convinced that IES did just this and acted to sort out the evident problems at IES:
Late last year, the IES managers in Stockholm felt their new flagship British school was not on the right track and they dealt with it in the Swedish way. This meant immediate, decisive action. The company’s operations manager, a former head teacher from Lancashire, flew over from Stockholm to take personal control. A replacement was found for the head teacher, a search started to replace six other teachers, and a detailed recovery plan was put in place with the aim of sorting out the problems by Easter.However I am far from sure he is right. Significant problems remain at IES as the large number of quite shocking comments from parents on this blog show. A number of parents have already moved their children to other schools. Concerns remain about the appointment of the new Principal who was recruited from a school that several parents had actually moved their children from to take them to IES.
Nelson is right to point out that plenty of maintained schools have failed as well as free schools but if you have children at IES Breckland this is not much comfort. Nor is Nelson's market approach to education that would see parents move children away and schools close. This completely misses the point of what Brandon parents wanted for Breckland school, a decent local school in their town so children didn't need to travel elsewhere.
What they got was an ideological experiment that has gone wrong. I challenged Fraser Nelson to come down to Brandon and express these views in the market place and whilst he has replied saying he has visited Brandon before he doesn't seem that keen on another visit any time soon!