Academy once inaccurately described as ‘worst in England’ requires improvement pre-16.  Post 16 good.

Janet Downs's picture

Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey has again been judged to require improvement by Ofsted.  Its provision for 16-19 year-olds was good.

The academy was set up in 2009 as Isle of Sheppey Academy sponsored by the independent school Dulwich College with support from Kent council and Canterbury Diocese. 

It was taken over by Oasis Community Learning in autumn 2013 after Dulwich College withdrew.  Oasis received nearly £196k in transfer fees.

In July 2014, The Times published an article under the headline ‘Young head is charged with turning round the worst school in England’. 

Following complaints by me and the academy’s head, David Millar, The Times had to clarify the headline.  It admitted the assessment of ‘worst school’ was not an official Ofsted judgement and the academy had actually been upgraded from inadequate in 2013.  That was when David Day was head and before Oasis took over.  The Times did not make that clear.  Instead, the article still implied the inspection which upgraded the academy took place under Millar's watch.

One of Millar’s strategies when Oasis took over was to exclude 270 pupils.   This policy appears to have continued after Millar left in 2016 having failed to bring about the hyped turnaround.  Ofsted’s most recent inspection noted ‘Fixed-term exclusions have been well above the national averages for secondary schools over the past three years’ but ‘recent changes to the support available for vulnerable pupils have led to a reduction in fixed-term exclusions.’  

This surprised Kent Independent Advice whose Freedom of Information request revealed  ‘Oasis had the second highest number and proportion in Kent’ with ‘796 fixed term exclusions between September and 21st June 2019’.  The fixed-term exclusion figure was ‘ten MORE than the 786 for the whole of 2017/18… (equivalent to 61% of pupils receiving one exclusion)’.

Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey has also seen a ‘remarkable decline of 550 pupils on roll since Oasis took over in 2013, a loss of over a quarter of the total,’ KIA reports.  The present head, Tina Lee, is the third since Oasis took over. 

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