School governors face removal over lowest ever SATs

Kobi Nazrul School Pic: Alex McGregor

Kobi Nazrul School Pic: Alex McGregor

A Tower Hamlets primary school could have the entire governing body removed tomorrow after they achieved the lowest ever  SATs results in the borough.

Just 40 per cent of pupils at Kobi Nazrul School in Whitechapel achieved a level 4 or above in English and Maths in the 2013 SATS. This is a large drop from 82 per cent the previous year and much lower than the national average of 76 per cent.

Tower Hamlets Council made the school ‘school causing concern’ in September last year following these results and issued them with a formal warning notice in December. Ofsted carried out an emergency inspection on June 2 but the report has not yet been published. In the last inspection in 2011 the school was rated Good.

Robert McCulloch-Graham, Director of Education, Social Care and Wellbeing for Tower Hamlets Council said: “The council has made repeated representations to the governors about the need for improvements but although some governors are receptive to the council’s actions, it has unfortunately been left with no option but to apply to the Secretary of State for permission to replace the entire governing body with an Interim Executive Board (IEB), which would be responsible for overseeing the transformation of the school.”

Tower Hamlets council will formally apply for permission to introduce an IEB tomorrow, July 3.

This follows the governors being asked to resign by the council to allow a new leadership team to be introduced to improve standards. Although four  have agreed, the chair of governors and a number of other members have refused. In a statement, the chairman and vice-chairman of governors have accused the town hall of “disproportionate wielding of power” against the school’s governing body.

Both the school and the council have denied reports that one of the reasons for the intervention has been fears of Islamic extremism, similar to the recent controversy in Birmingham.

Headteacher Kamal Butt told the Evening Standard that there had been a dispute among the governors over whether the school should become an academy, outside of the council’s control. But he added: “To the best of my knowledge there is no extremist element. We have a diverse workforce. The majority of teachers are non-Muslim. They come from a variety of backgrounds. There is no issue of extremism. The biggest issue for our school is the issue of anti-academies.”

The council said the issues involved ‘standards, governance and leadership’.


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