London

Durand Academy facing special measures after Ofsted report

Durand Academy, Midhurst, West Sussex Image copyright Durand Acedemy
Image caption Durand Academy has a boarding school in Midhurst, West Sussex

A London academy faces the prospect of being placed in special measures following a damning Ofsted report.

Inspectors judged the Durand Academy "inadequate" in a draft report seen by the BBC.

Ofsted published the report in error on Wednesday before withdrawing it on Thursday. It said a final version will be published "in the coming days".

In a letter to parents, the academy's governing body said they had "no doubt" it had been "deliberately published".

The school said the release of the draft report was "part of yet further attacks on the school by the educational establishment".

The Department for Education (DfE) terminated funding for the school's trust in October.

It runs an infant and junior school in Stockwell, south London, and a boarding school for older pupils in Midhurst, West Sussex.

The report said senior staff did not ensure that "safeguarding [of pupils] was at the top of their priorities".

Image copyright Durand Academy
Image caption The Department for Education pledged £17.3m for the school

It said the school "could not account for the whereabouts of all pupils", adding its policies for child protection and safeguarding were "not translated into effective practice".

The inspectors cited one case in which a boarding school pupils's complaint of abuse by a member of staff was not referred to the local authority.

The report also said senior leaders at the Durand Academy had "an inflated view of the school's strengths and underestimate the seriousness of its weaknesses".

Other failings identified include:

  • Teaching across the school was too variable, leading to inconsistent achievements by pupils.
  • Weak leadership and governance meant the school was not providing its pupils with an adequate quality of education overall
  • The school's own evaluation of its performance was neither rigorous nor accurate
  • The school was unable to show that it kept detailed, accurate and secure written records of concerns and referrals
  • It was not able to provide evidence it notified the local authority when about to remove a pupil's name from the school admission register, putting "pupils at risk of harm"
Image copyright Durand Academy
Image caption The Department for Education wrote to Sir Greg Martin to warn him of the withdrawal of funding

Durand Academy has more than 1,000 pupils at its three sites and received £17m from the government to set up a school for weekly boarders in 2014.

The Ofsted report comes less than three months after the DfE announced it was terminating funding when it cited serious concerns about management and governance.

But the former head of the academy chain, Sir Greg Martin, said the withdrawal of the funding had "no legal basis".

Image copyright Durand Academy
Image caption Durand Academy's governing body have sent a letter about the report to parents

Sir Greg stood down as executive head teacher in August 2015, six months after the Charities Commission announced it would be investigating the relationship between the Durand Academy Trust, its charitable arm, the Durand Education Trust and two other businesses - London Horizons Limited and GMG Resource Management.

A spokesman for Ofsted said the school's inspectorate was "urgently investigating" how the draft version of the report had been published.

They added: "We have contacted the school's representatives this morning to apologise for this error."

Durand Academy was previously rated as "good" when Ofsted last visited in 2014.

More on this story