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Tuesday, 24 July 2018 17:53

Another Failure of Accountability for Academies Exposed: Invicta Grammar School v St Olave’s Grammar.

Note: As this item has attracted considerable attention, I have transferred it from my blog to 'Latest News'

The failure of accountability for Academies is exposed yet again following the Independent Inquiry into the illegal expulsions of 17 Year Twelve Sixth Form students on grounds of academic performance, at St Olave’s Grammar in Orpington, a Voluntary Aided School maintained by the Local Authority, in the summer of 2017.

The Inquiry, commissioned by Bromley Council, confirmed: the exclusions were illegal; the excluded students were regarded as ‘collateral damage’, the headteacher had resigned; the pupils offered reinstatement (although several were so disgusted they chose not to take up places, some having completed their A Levels at an Independent School in Rochester); and an apology was to be issued to all who were affected.

invicta

 

Previously, I had exposed the practice as illegal, following the 2016 AS Levels when 22 girls were forced out from Invicta Grammar School in Maidstone, an academy in the Valley Invicta Academy Trust. To this day there has been no response from the school acknowledging any fault, in spite of wide publicity on the issue, merely a demonstrably false claim in a local newspaper by the headteacher that every one of these students had left voluntarily .

I believe the term ‘collateral damage’ used by politicians to dehumanise war-time civilian casualties is entirely appropriate for such victims of schools without a proper moral compass.

Invicta Grammar, as an academy technically directly accountable to Department for Education through the SE Regional Schools Commissioner, should have been dealt with equally firmly. I challenged the DfE on the matter, but was told it would be up to case law to determine the matter, and there the matter rested until I was contacted by St Olave’s parents and advised them to take legal advice.

Since my exposure of the issue, numbers of students leaving after Year 12 in Kent and Medway grammar schools dropped sharply for 2017, the St Olave’s case showing it had not been widely accepted elsewhere. I am confident it was also happening in non-selective schools, although this is impossible to pin down using census data (my technique before students started contacting me individually), as many students would be leaving anyway at the end of Year 12, after following one-year courses.

 

RIC Masthead June 2018   2

 I have spoken and corresponded with many of the Invicta Grammar victims of the collateral damage as Invicta relentlessly pursued its target of excellence for its A Level grades, featured in all its literature. You will find some of their testimonies as comments at the foot of the original article. The fact that it has also has one of lowest staying on levels into the Sixth Form of any grammar school in Kent is another indicator that all is not well.

There is of course also a wider issue, the overall lack of accountability to the Regional Schools Commissioner and DfE. These argue that Ofsted and academic performance are sufficient to monitor most issues, but failures such as this and other exclusion and Home Education matters, financial irregularities, meltdown between Ofsted, or in the large gaps that exist between checks for new academies or change of ownership, the negative consequences of what I call Tough Love – with its own built in collateral damage, etc, etc, show they are not!

Try my articles on Lilac Sky, Turner Schools, Oasis Isle of Sheppey Academy, SchoolsCompany, Holcombe Grammar School, the Williamson Trust, Invicta Grammar, Ebbsfleet Academy, Failure to provide appropriate non-selective provision in Tunbridge Wells, Medway UTC, Knole Academy, Swale Academies Trust, to see too many failures to take action. Please note that several of these items have links to multiple articles as stories unfold.

Last modified on Monday, 30 July 2018 10:26

3 comments

  • Comment Link Saturday, 28 July 2018 11:46 posted by Alison M

    I am one of the victims of Invicta Grammar's policy of expulsion at the end of Year 12 as I just missed the required grades to go into Year 13. I learned last summer thanks to Peter that this was illegal and I should have been allowed to continue. Unfortunately I was so distressed I dropped out completely and am now a waitress. Do you think I should sue? PETER: I am not a lawyer, but you lost your future because of Invicta breaking the law. I would certainly recommend you seek legal advice. Let me know how you get on.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 25 July 2018 23:44 posted by Ailbhe C

    I am interested to know what my local MP, Mr Gordon Henderson is doing because with my childrens ex school Oasis Academy Sheppey it seems he has been far from proactive, exclusion for wearing the wrong trousers, or the incorrect shoes.. Yet on the local paper this week he was endorsing the new changes. No mention of the sanctions the school imposes, and no mention of the increasing numbers choosing Home Education in excess of 80 in less than two years, clearly its failing many children, I really don't understand why no one is looking into what is going on! PETER: A question I keep asking, the example in this article underlying the scandal of non-accountability. Sadly too many politicians go along with the party line, condemning or damaging children's futures. They have a lot they should answer for, but won't. The list of examples at the bottom of this article bears testament to the reality.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 25 July 2018 21:26 posted by Mrs. D

    Good evening Peter,

    The rise in exclusions in my opinion corresponds with the rise in Academies who seem accountable to no one. This was on the BBC this morning and also Sky, but the underlying issue is the draconian measures being used by Academies which seems to have been ignored by government except an MP for Stockton South Paul Williams who spoke of the dreaded affects isolation was having on children in his Constituency.
    Labour were at the forefront of Academies but it didn't move very quickly, Conservative party however have pushed forward at a rapid rate, another form of privitisation? In any case it is a failing project, those at the top get paid fortunes whilst teachers are paid very little. Lilac trust was one such example (though there are many more) where funds were inappropriately being used.
    My own personal experience is of having a child eager to learn but being sent to Isolation (or as they called it Reflection) for drinking water, putting paper into the bin, being denied an Education as none was provided in Reflection, and very little food not to mention not being able to speak for the best part of 8 hours.
    Thankfully I am no longer a part of the failing unaccountable Education system, I wish those who are the best of luck.

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