Third Burnley super school under fire

CRISIS SCHOOL: Shuttleworth

CRISIS SCHOOL: Shuttleworth

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by

A THIRD Burnley super school has come under fire from Ofsted inspectors - and has been placed in special measures.

Shuttleworth Community College, Kiddrow Lane, has been found to be failing after an inspection last week.

The move prompted Burnley Council leader Gordon Birtwistle to hit out at education authority Lancashire County Council, saying teachers and parents had been let down by their "rank incompetence".

But the headteacher and education bosses said they were confident they could turn around the fortunes of the school, which was formerly known as Gawthorpe High Last year Hameldon Community College, Burnley, was put into special measures six months after opening.

And over the last Christmas holidays Ofsted inspectors gave staff and governors at Unity College a notice to improve' because they said it was failing to perform as well as it should.

The Shuttleworth inspection report is due to be published in the next fortnight.

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An action plan is likely to be drawn up in a bid to help turn the school around.

Headteacher Andrew McKenzie said he could not comment on Ofsted's findings in advance of the final inspection report being published, for confidentiality reasons.

He said inspectors had acknowledged the school was making progress - but would have wanted the rate of progress to be "faster".

Commenting on the prospect of being placed in special measures, he added: "It would be a huge disappointment to us, especially as the school's reorganisation has presented us with a number of complex problems."

Mr McKenzie said a number of teachers left the school, after the summer term ended in 2006, and replacements had to be recruited before September for the newly-christened Shuttleworth College.

He said: "We have teachers here who are totally committed to improving standards at Shuttleworth but that does not happen overnight and we accept the challenges that we have got to meet.

"The inspectors found that we had made progress, in difficult circumstances, and it is now a matter of increasing the rate of change in order to make these improvements."

Coun Birtwistle said he held teaching staff at Shuttleworth in the "highest regard" but felt they had been given an "impossible job and expected to just get on with it" as a result of the BSF programme.

Coun Birtwistle added: "It is a terrible shock. It is bad news for the school, for the young people and the town.

"They have been badly let down by the rank incompetence of the county council's education authority.

"I just hope that the school receives more help than Hameldon did from the county council when it was placed in special measures.

"The county council now has the proud record of having two out of five schools in Burnley in special measures. How many more other education authorities could say that?"

Burnley MP Kitty Ussher said: "I am deeply disappointed but I have spoken to the county council and headteacher and I am convinced that they are genuinely determined to make the necessary improvements.

"Obviously in these unfortunate circumstances, when a school is in special measures, it does receive more resources. I would urge the school to take advantage of this and put their foot on the accelerator."

The MP said that, even if BSF had not taken place, a major schools reorganisation would still have occurred, due to falling rolls in Burnley's educational establishments.

County Coun Marcus Johnstone, cabinet member for children and young people, said: "I feel confident that we will be able to work effectively with Shuttleworth College's governing body and staff to produce an action plan to address any issues raised in the Ofsted report when we receive it."

"It should also be noted that nationwide, schools created under reorganisations, such as BSF, experience a dip in results during reorganisation, stemming from the inevitable disruption.

"Shuttleworth pupils will be moving into their new accommodation in September which will give them and staff a boost in morale as well as a fantastic learning environment."

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