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Thursday, 24 June 2021 05:09

Delce Academy, Rochester, now re-brokered to Inspire Partnership

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Delce Academy now appears to be in safe hands, being rehabilitated by the Inspire Partnership academy trust after ruination under the Castle Trust. The latter useless organisation not only took it into Special Measures but changed it from a Junior School to one that was an all-through primary, potentially threatening the viability of its two feeder infant schools. On the way, it conned Medway Council into offering a £400,000 loan for new buildings to facilitate this, until wisely blocked by the Regional Schools Commissioner.

Delce Academy

 

Delce Academy never succeeded in being a popular option for infant parents (never mind the children who were merely pawns in this political games-playing) and the Inspiration Partnership has now wisely gained approval from the RSC to return it to a Junior School. In giving approval the RSC noted: 'The board were encouraged to hear that Inspire were developing relationships with other schools locally and hoped this change would help strengthen collaboration further', presumably as relationships in recent years have been extremely frosty.  You can read a more detailed description of the debacle created by an over-ambitious headteacher of limited abilities here, backed by naïve worthies who had previously been part of the failed Medway Council ‘School  Improvement’ Department of the period.

The infant department of Delce has just eight first choices for September, the last year of intake, with another four who placed it second or lower on their preference forms and five children allocated by Medway Council who had failed to get into any school if their choice. There is still time for these children to transfer to Crest Infants, one of the two feeder schools, although St Peter’s Infants is still full. Alternatively, if they stay at Delce they will have small classes and good teaching!

 

Offers of Infant places for Feeder Schools into
Delce Academy Junior Department, September 2021
  2016 2017 2021
 
Offers
1st
Choices
Offers
1st
Choices
Offers
1st
Choices
Crest Infants 90 80 63 53 46 39
Delce Academy     21 18 17 8
St Peter's Infants 40 25 38 19 40 21
Rochester Total 359   327   330  

Note: Crest Infant School was called Delce Infant School up to and including 2016

The above table shows that Delce Infant School was a very popular part of the linked pair of schools up until September 2016, although that year 27 children took up places in the new infant section of Delce Academy even though it was not part of the formal admissions process. Since then its popularity has fallen each year, not helped by the damning Ofsted Report of 2019 placing the school in Special Measures, which recorded that: 'The Castle Trust leaders claim high ambitions for Delce Academy but have not provided adequate support to ensure that the school improves'. The current Infant section intake according to last September's census was just 12 pupils (11 in 2020). Junior numbers in Year Three have crashed from 131 in October 2016 to 78 in September last year. It will take the Inspiration Partnership some time to get over the bad reputation created by recent events, with over half of Delce Year Three places empty for next September.  

Meanwhile and unsurprisingly, three other Rochester schools, St Margaret’s at Troy Town CofE, St William of Perth Catholic, and Pilgrim are amongst the most oversubscribed in Medway as local parents attempt to jump ship, with The Pilgrim School turning away 35 first choices being the most popular school in Medway. 

Karen White, the headteacher during these events and CEO of the Trust, wisely moved to Greenway Academy in West Sussex, a small junior school,and the only new school to be added to Castle Trust. She continues to earn an annual salary of over £100,000 at Greenway, now all that is left of Castle Trust, where she failed in her attempt to repeat the exercise and turn it into all-through. In February the Regional Schools Commissioner gave approval for Greenway to join GLF schools, a large trust with over 40 primary and secondary schools across southern England, noting that 'GLF have a plan for a strategic restructuring of the school' which perhaps involves looking a the position of the highly paid headteacher. This would mean that Castle Trust is dissolved although there is no mention of any of this on the expansive Castle Trust website (I loved the section for School Improvement which simply records NULL). I understand that there has been no progress on the re-brokering to date.

 

 

 

 

Read 447 times Last modified on Saturday, 03 July 2021 10:33

1 comment

  • Comment Link Friday, 02 July 2021 20:54 posted by Anonymous

    As a relative insider to this story i must state that Inspire is far from having Delce in safe habour. Im afraid with their methods yes it may improve but only very slowly and with some significant casualties. Staff turnover is still very high, supply staff are prevalent along with staff off with stress. The school is still exaggerating its figures. Simple mistakes are being made by leadership and the heavy handed and in some cases inept way Inspire are trying to support Delce staff is not accelerating the process. PETER: I am sorry to hear this

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