Head of failing free school to step down

jpco-7-9-11-discovery school, andrew & lindsey snowdon (pic by jon rigby)
jpco-7-9-11-discovery school, andrew & lindsey snowdon (pic by jon rigby)

The headteacher of Discovery New School has agreed to step down as soon as possible after failing to create an adequate improvement plan for the school.

The Broadfield school, set up in September 2011 as one of the country’s first free schools, was judged as needing ‘special measures’ in its first Ofsted inspection in May.

This meant it would be subject to regular unannounced inspections.

Ofsted’s report of its inspection in September stated headteacher Lindsey Snowdon had agreed to step down from her role ‘as soon as a new headteacher can be appointed’.

The report said: “It is essential that a credible professional is appointed to the headship without delay to provide the expert leadership necessary to remove the school from special measures.”

The report added that the headteacher and business director had drafted a ‘statement of action’ and an improvement plan since the first report which were ‘not fit for purpose’.

The first Ofsted inspection was critical of the leadership at the school and warned that, if improvements were not made quickly, many pupils would be in danger of leaving the school without being able to read and write.

The report added: “The headteacher lacks the skills and knowledge to improve teaching.

“Too much teaching is inadequate, and the headteacher has an over-optimistic view of its quality.”

There was also concern too many children were being assessed as having special educational needs when ‘some of them simply need better teaching’.

The recent report revealed the headteacher had not provided any written records of her classroom observations.

It also revealed the school had been unsuccessful in securing an external improvement partner.

A spokesperson from the Department of Education said: “We will not tolerate low standards and will not hesitate to take action, potentially terminating the funding agreement, if the school does not make rapid improvements.”

Mrs Snowdon had not commented when the Observer went to press.