Leaders of Milton Keynes school in special measures have “questions to answer” say politicians

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Politicians will be considering what action they can take in the wake of a major Milton Keynes school being put into special measures.

The three political parties on Milton Keynes Council say the London-based trust that runs Stantonbury School has “questions to answer” following a damning Oftsed report.

Cllr Zoe Nolan (Lab, Loughton & Shenley) is the council’s elected head of children and families. She said: “Milton Keynes Council have been challenging the regional schools commissioner to act on concerns raised with us about the school.

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“Children in Milton Keynes are being dreadfully let down. The report raises so many concerns.”

Cllr Zoe NolanCllr Zoe Nolan
Cllr Zoe Nolan

She said that the Labour-led council would like to create a cooperative trust to take over failing schools but the government do not allow this to happen. “They are failing our children,” she said.

Although the council has direct responsibility for a network of “maintained” schools, Stantonbury is an academy and is not controlled by the local authority.

Based at The Talent Factory, in Lewisham the Griffin Schools Trust runs 13 schools in the Midlands and South East of England.

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They took over Stantonbury School, with its 1,900 students, in September 2016 and have now notched up the two worst possible Ofsted ratings.

Cllr Jane CarrCllr Jane Carr
Cllr Jane Carr

A rating of Requires Improvement at an inspection in November 2018 was followed by a snap inspection barely a year later, in January this year.

The inspectors rated the school “Inadequate” and put it into special measures. Special measures means the school will be monitored and re-inspected.

Lib Dem councillor Jane Carr (Newport Pagnell South) chairs the children and young people scrutiny committee at Milton Keynes Council.

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She said: “The Ofsted report shows backward progress. Stantonbury International was assessed as ‘Requires Improvement’ in 2018; things have only got worse.

Stantonbury International SchoolStantonbury International School
Stantonbury International School

“The management is significantly lacking and student behaviour so poor it is described as ‘dangerous’, putting students at physical and emotional risk.

“How can this be acceptable? It is time the Government returned the control of schools to the local councils.

“The children and young people’s scrutiny committee will be considering what action the council can take. ”

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A spokesperson for the council’s Conservative group also said that the trust has questions to answer.

He said: “It is extremely concerning to see Stantonbury International School enter into special measures. The Griffin Schools Trust have questions to answer as to how such a slide in standards has been allowed to happen under their watch.”

Ofsted had criticised the trust for overseeing “the decline of the school since the last inspection.”

The trust itself says the current leadership of the school had only been in place for a matter of weeks before inspectors called. And they say they have implemented improvements to deal with concerns.

Stantonbury has been run by two joint heads since December.

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Matt Gilbert and Alison Ramsay are supported by Ange Tyler, a founder member of the trust.

The trust also boasts a number of educational experts among its staff and trustees, including a professor and a former GB champion swimmer.

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