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Steiner Academy faces possible closure or takeover but has ‘robust plan’ for improvements

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STEINER Academy Frome has received a termination notice by the Government after being rated as ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted.

The school faces possible closure or takeover after the Department for Education said it intended to cut off their funding later this year. But the school has told Frome Times it is working on ‘a robust development plan to bring about rapid school improvement.’ 

Nikki Doughty, acting principal said, “As the new acting principal at SAF I have been working with the academy management sub committee and Bridgwater College Trust to respond to the Ofsted report and create a robust development plan to bring about rapid school improvement. 

“The development plan that is agreed and in place sets out clear pathways for staff development and training, which will be a cornerstone of our activity to ensure that the SAF is removed from the category of Special Measures as quickly as possible.”

The school had until 20th February to hand over an action plan for improvement to the government.

The Department for Education has advised the school to convert to a multi-academy trust and said it would help them find a sponsor. Once this happens, funding from the Department for Education will terminate as they will convert from free school status to being part of a multi-academy trust. This process is expected to take several months. If no action plan is made or a sponsor is not found, both schools will close.

In the letter, Regional Schools Commissioner for the South West, Lisa Mannall says, “On the basis of the evidence provided by Ofsted, I am now issuing this Termination Warning Notice because I do not have confidence that the Trust is able to rapidly and sustainably improve the academy’s systems of governance and management, and educational standards. I am therefore minded to terminate the funding agreement of the academy and transfer the school to a strong multi-academy trust that can provide the capacity for continued improvement.

“My team will work with you to identify a trust that can provide for the needs of the school and its pupils.

“In the event of termination (of the funding agreement), my team will make every effort to secure a suitable sponsor for Steiner Academy Frome. However, if this is not possible, I will consider all possible options for the school. This may include potential closure.”

The school was rated ‘inadequate’ in a report published by Ofsted in January. Areas of concern included:  the unsafe nature, insufficient progress for those with special educational needs, high number of exclusions and no senior authority. 

At the time, the trustees of Steiner Academy Frome said they would be formally challenging the report and the inspection process itself. 

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