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Irlam and Cadishead College becomes Academy after damning Ofsted report

Governors at the £25m Irlam and Cadishead College have confirmed the school will become an Academy sponsored by the Salford Academy Trust.

The Salford Academy Trust (SAT), made up of Salford City College, Salford City Council and the University of Salford was formed as a not-for-profit in June 2012 to oversee academies in Salford.

Speaking on behalf of the school, in a statement today Salford City Council said: “The Department for Education has visited the college and advised ministers that its future would be best secured by gaining the additional support and challenge of becoming part of the SAT family.

“The Secretary of State has now confirmed this and the governing body is about to begin a period of consultation with parents, staff and the community about the future.”

A flagship of the Building Schools for the Future programme when it opened in 2012, the school was put into special measures after a highly critical Ofsted report, leaked to SalfordOnline.com on 23 March this year.

It found the school was ‘inadequate’ across the board in the key areas of achievement and behaviour of pupils, teaching, and in leadership and management.

SalfordOnline.com’ broke the news here

Inspectors found teachers had low expectations of students and the school was failing disadvantaged pupils, the most able, and those with special educational needs.

Former governor Cllr Roger Jones said he opposed the move to Academy status but there was little choice in the matter.

“I don’t like this but I don’t think there is any other option.

“I have always opposed Academy schools because they get additional resources at the expense of other schools and there is no evidence that they raise standards in education while they operate independently of local education authorities.”

“25 years ago the high school tried to become an academy and this was defeated by a parental ballot after a campaign by the local Labour Party.

“Three years ago the College applied to become an academy and the governing body refused to hold a ballot of parents and rejected the views of the local councillors.

“This application was finally rejected by the Department for Education because they felt the performance levels of the school were not good enough.”

Cllr Jones says the appalling GCSE results, which plummeted to just 35% of pupils getting five A*-C grades in 2014 was the responsibility of former headteacher John Ferguson, who took early retirement soon after the results were published.

Cllr Jones continued: “None of them have explained themselves which tells you everything you need to know.

“I am told that the new acting headteacher and senior management team are doing a good job and I wish them every success – they certainly have a difficult job on their hands.”

The Chair of Irlam and Cadishead College’s governing body, Jane Cummins, said: “The College has gone through a very difficult period recently and has been looking for the best way to improve provision.

“Governors have been considering the way forward as an academy and have been impressed with the support that SAT is able to offer. They welcome the possibility of ICC joining SAT’s family of schools to help the College improve more rapidly.”

Leon Dowd, Chair of the Salford Academy Trust Board, said: “SAT is a Salford solution for local schools who want to work together in a model of collaborative challenge.

“We are looking forward to ICC joining us and benefitting from what SAT is successfully doing.

“We firmly believe that together, the College, the Trust and the local community can deliver the outstanding education that Irlam and Cadishead deserves and we are all excited about how we can together shape a better future.”

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Tom is SalfordOnline.com's News Editor and community co-ordinator.

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