Milton Keynes secondary school faces having funding withdrawn following 'inadequate' Ofsted rating

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The academy running the school could be stripped of its cash

The future is uncertain for an academy-run secondary school in MK following an inadequate Ofsted report that placed it in special measures.

Sir Herbert Leon School in Bletchley is run by the London-based Academies Enterprise Trust (AET), which has been issued with an official Termination Warning Notice by the Department for Education.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A similar notice was issued last year to the failing Stantonbury International School, which was then run by the Griffin Trust. It resulted in the school being taken over by the Tove Learning Trust and rebranded as simply Stantonbury School’. Attempts by MK Council to run it as a local authority school failed.

Sir Herbert Leon School in BletchleySir Herbert Leon School in Bletchley
Sir Herbert Leon School in Bletchley

At Sir Herbert Leon, the warning notice was issued this summer following the unsatisfactory Ofsted report. It gave the school’s trustees until last month to come up with a plan of action to make improvements, particularly to the safeguarding of pupils.

If the DfE is not happy with the plan, then AET will be stripped of its funding and the school would be transferred to alternative management.

The Ofsted report said Sir Herbert Leon leaders had failed to develop a “systematic approach to catering for pupils’ wider development. As a result, pupils are “not prepared for life in modern Britain”, it stated.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Teaching of the curriculum was described as “ineffective” at times and the inspectors noted “disrupted learning environments” in some subjects.

Bullying was seen to be a problem, with the inspectors stating: “Leaders have not done enough to ensure that discrimination, harassment and bullying among pupils is addressed. As a result, there is a culture of non-reporting and tolerance of these behaviours among pupils.”

The Ofsted report further accused the school of inadequacies in safeguarding It stated: “ Leaders do not systematically check that pupils attending alternative provision are present or safe.

“This means that pupils may be at risk of harm.”

The Termination Warning Notice was issued by Dame Kate Dethridge, who is head of the DfE south east regions group.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She said: “As Regional Director, I need to be satisfied that the trust has capacity to deliver rapid and sustainable improvement at Sir Herbert Leon Academy. If I am not satisfied that this can be achieved, I will consider whether to terminate the funding agreement in order to transfer the Academy to an alternative academy trust.”

A decision on the school’s future is still being awaited but this month local councillor Ethaniel Kelly-Wilson pressed for a change of leadership.

He said: “Our children deserve more… Whilst I know that there are definitely great students and wonderful teachers at Sir Herbert Leon, they are being let down by their leadership. The leadership needs to change.

"Academies Enterprise Trust began operating the school in 2012. Since becoming an academy in 2012, the school has been rated Requires Improvement in 2014, Inadequate in 2016, Requires Improvement in 2018, and now in 2022 it is Inadequate again.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The councillor added: "With regret, I feel that there is a total lack of confidence within the local community for this school to be continued to be managed by AET, and I would hope that the Regional Director for Education will terminate the funding agreement and ask another Trust to take on responsibility.”

A spokesman for

A spokesperson for AET said: “Whilst we are disappointed by the warning notice, we appreciate that it is a standard DfE procedure following an inadequate Ofsted judgement. We have a very clear understanding of what needs to improve at Sir Herbert Leon and have a robust plan in place to accelerate improvements so that the warning notice is lifted.

“Post pandemic, it had become increasingly clear that Sir Herbert Leon required significant investment and leadership capacity to ensure rapid improvement across a number of fronts. The first step to securing positive change is strong leadership and we have a new Principal in place who knows the school well and is fully committed to the community. In addition, we have brought in further leadership capacity through our Director of Secondaries, who has also taken on direct oversight of the school

“Under their combined leadership a whole swathe of improvements has been put in place, ranging from the approach to attendance and curriculum, through to how alternative provision is organised and student voice.“To maintain the pace of progress, we also put in place an Interim Standards Board, making sure the school has strong governance providing effective oversight and challenge to the school and the Trust.

“These changes were already having an impact before the end of the last school year, and we have continued to build on them since September.”