Cuckoo Hall, once held up as example to other schools, taking ‘effective action’ to exit special measures

Janet Downs's picture

Cuckoo Hall Academy, once elevated by former education secretary Michael Gove as an example for other schools to follow, is taking ‘effective action towards the removal of special measures’, Ofsted says.

Inspectors visited Cuckoo Hall for a second monitoring visit in December shortly after the Department for Education (DfE) issued a notice saying it was ‘minded to terminate’ the academy’s funding agreement.

Inspectors found the school’s senior leadership had changed considerably since the first monitoring visit.  This had slowed the improvement rate.  Nevertheless, the new team demonstrated the ‘capacity to improve the school.’  The newly-appointed head, Nicky Ross, had the full support of Cuckoo Hall Academy Trust (CHAT), staff, parents and pupils. 

Cuckoo Hall now purchases school improvement (SIP) services from Enfield local authority.  This is ironic because Cuckoo Hall’s former head, Patricia Sowter, was scathing about LA SIP when she gave evidence to the Public Accounts Committee in 2011:  

In terms of a SIP, if your school is outstanding—this is not speaking from an arrogant point of view—I felt that it was a complete waste of my time to be sitting down with a local authority adviser or SIP five times a year to tick their boxes. I had much better things to do. I knew where my school was and where it needed to go next, and I did not need a SIP to come in to meet me five times a year.'

It appears SIP is not such a waste of time after all. 


Warwick Mansell discusses CHAT's latest accounts here including the 16% pay rise for CHAT's CEO.


Report available on Ofsted’s website.

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