Headteachers’ strained relationship at Leigh Beck school blamed for school’s shock failings

Southend Standard: Headteachers’ strained relationship blamed for school’s shock failings Headteachers’ strained relationship blamed for school’s shock failings

A FAILING school has been placed in special measures – just three years after being named one of the best in Essex.

Ofsted inspectors blamed the relationship between the headteacher and deputy headteacher at Leigh Beck Infant School and Nursery, in Point Road, Canvey, for the school’s “drastic decline”.

This week they rated it “inadequate’’, three years after hailing it as “outstanding’’.

Serious concerns were raised about the quality of teaching, the behaviour and safety of pupils, leadership and management and achievement of pupils.

The latest rating means the school will be regularly monitored by the education watchdog.

During a visit last month, inspectors said the “strained relationship’’ between Gill Chapman and her deputy, Helen Greensill, had a negative impact on the school and resulted in its drastic decline.

Ofsted said the pair had not worked well together.

The head has since been signed off on long- term sick leave. Other failings included:

Teachers have poor knowledge of howto teach reading and writing

Work set is not linked to ability and is often not challenging enough for pupils

Children do not feel safe during break times because of poor supervision

Procedures for dealing with bad behaviour are not rigorous enough

Books are not marked regularly and feedback is unhelpful

Pupils are easily distracted in lessons and often disrupt classmates

Staff are too generous in assessments of their teaching quality

Declining pupil attendance is not being addressed Dave Blackwell, leader of Canvey Island Independent Party, said he was shocked by the scathing Ofsted report.

He said: “I visited the school only a month ago, so I was gobsmacked to find out it has been placed in special measures.

“The report is very critical of almost everything.

“Of all the schools on Canvey, Leigh Beck was always great. It was the school everyone wanted their kids to go to.

“It just goes to show, if you take your finger off the button this is what happens. I’m sure the parents will be very concerned, but we can assure them the school will be turned around and it won't take long to bring it back to where it should be.’’ Leigh Beck, which opened more than 70 years ago, has 331 pupils, from three to seven-years-old.

The school declined to comment when approached by the Echo.

Comments (12)

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6:02pm Fri 20 Dec 13

Kim Gandy says...

What IS going on with all these headteachers. What's this now, the third or fourth in a fortnight?
What IS going on with all these headteachers. What's this now, the third or fourth in a fortnight? Kim Gandy

6:07pm Fri 20 Dec 13

DogsMessInLeigh says...

Kim Gandy wrote:
What IS going on with all these headteachers. What's this now, the third or fourth in a fortnight?
sounds like they only think of themselves, feel sorry for the kids caught in the crossfire, hero's to Zero's in 3 years...shameful people and hope you are reading this.
[quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: What IS going on with all these headteachers. What's this now, the third or fourth in a fortnight?[/p][/quote]sounds like they only think of themselves, feel sorry for the kids caught in the crossfire, hero's to Zero's in 3 years...shameful people and hope you are reading this. DogsMessInLeigh

6:13pm Fri 20 Dec 13

SwampDweller says...

Governors have to be held responsible also. They should be holding the headteacher to account.
Governors have to be held responsible also. They should be holding the headteacher to account. SwampDweller

7:56pm Fri 20 Dec 13

Nebs says...

SwampDweller wrote:
Governors have to be held responsible also. They should be holding the headteacher to account.
Holding the headteacher to account would probably be classed as bullying.
[quote][p][bold]SwampDweller[/bold] wrote: Governors have to be held responsible also. They should be holding the headteacher to account.[/p][/quote]Holding the headteacher to account would probably be classed as bullying. Nebs

11:32pm Fri 20 Dec 13

Nowthatsworthknowing says...

What's wrong? is their complacent attitude towards their teaching standards, get rid.
What's wrong? is their complacent attitude towards their teaching standards, get rid. Nowthatsworthknowing

7:50am Sat 21 Dec 13

Nebs says...

Teachers have poor knowledge of how to teach reading and writing.
Work set is not linked to ability and is often not challenging enough for pupils.
Children do not feel safe during break times because of poor supervision.
Books are not marked regularly and feedback is unhelpful.
Staff are too generous in assessments of their teaching quality.

How many of the teaching staff were removed from class and sent back to university, as the above items in the report suggest that those to whom the criticisms apply are not currently fit to be teachers.
Teachers have poor knowledge of how to teach reading and writing. Work set is not linked to ability and is often not challenging enough for pupils. Children do not feel safe during break times because of poor supervision. Books are not marked regularly and feedback is unhelpful. Staff are too generous in assessments of their teaching quality. How many of the teaching staff were removed from class and sent back to university, as the above items in the report suggest that those to whom the criticisms apply are not currently fit to be teachers. Nebs

11:25am Sat 21 Dec 13

Jack222 says...

Headteachers are burning out because it's a rubbish job. Far too much pointless paperwork demanded and very little time to actually do the Headteaching part of the job.

Headteachers used to have time to actually manage a school - now the pointless government demands and 'proof' just mean no time to do it all, even when working from home and through weekends. Hence, burnout.

Teaching is no longer a job, it's just form-filling...
Headteachers are burning out because it's a rubbish job. Far too much pointless paperwork demanded and very little time to actually do the Headteaching part of the job. Headteachers used to have time to actually manage a school - now the pointless government demands and 'proof' just mean no time to do it all, even when working from home and through weekends. Hence, burnout. Teaching is no longer a job, it's just form-filling... Jack222

11:27am Sat 21 Dec 13

Jack222 says...

'Teachers have poor knowledge of how to teach reading and writing.
Work set is not linked to ability and is often not challenging enough for pupils.
Children do not feel safe during break times because of poor supervision.
Books are not marked regularly and feedback is unhelpful.
Staff are too generous in assessments of their teaching quality.

How many of the teaching staff were removed from class and sent back to university, as the above items in the report suggest that those to whom the criticisms apply are not currently fit to be teachers'

Under Gove you no longer have to have qualifications to be a teacher - and the school can pay you what they want. Teachers salaries are dropping like a stone and what was once a profession is now a lifetime to be spent living in rented social housing...
'Teachers have poor knowledge of how to teach reading and writing. Work set is not linked to ability and is often not challenging enough for pupils. Children do not feel safe during break times because of poor supervision. Books are not marked regularly and feedback is unhelpful. Staff are too generous in assessments of their teaching quality. How many of the teaching staff were removed from class and sent back to university, as the above items in the report suggest that those to whom the criticisms apply are not currently fit to be teachers' Under Gove you no longer have to have qualifications to be a teacher - and the school can pay you what they want. Teachers salaries are dropping like a stone and what was once a profession is now a lifetime to be spent living in rented social housing... Jack222

11:45am Sat 21 Dec 13

E.C.M. says...

No wonder you can't get Headteachers for love nor money today!

Who in their right mind, would take the risky next step on their professional development ladder to Headship, knowing their career could be over with no 'parachute', if Ofsted give a negative judgement after their next inspection?!

Stay a career Deputy is my advice...you'll remain in a job and won't be directly accountable for poor results, actually caused by unsupportive parents, their disaffected children and Gove and Wilshere's obsession with 'qualifications' not 'education'!
No wonder you can't get Headteachers for love nor money today! Who in their right mind, would take the risky next step on their professional development ladder to Headship, knowing their career could be over with no 'parachute', if Ofsted give a negative judgement after their next inspection?! Stay a career Deputy is my advice...you'll remain in a job and won't be directly accountable for poor results, actually caused by unsupportive parents, their disaffected children and Gove and Wilshere's obsession with 'qualifications' not 'education'! E.C.M.

2:37pm Sat 21 Dec 13

emcee says...

I can only speak of secondary schools but the decisions of headteachers and the senior managment are often made to to make their job more comfortable, make themselves and the school look good and to reflect the requirement to appease Government statistics. The education of the children comes further down the list.
Also, the school governors and senior management are often "as thick as thieves" and only very rarely will a headteacher and senior mangement be held to account by the governors.
I can only speak of secondary schools but the decisions of headteachers and the senior managment are often made to to make their job more comfortable, make themselves and the school look good and to reflect the requirement to appease Government statistics. The education of the children comes further down the list. Also, the school governors and senior management are often "as thick as thieves" and only very rarely will a headteacher and senior mangement be held to account by the governors. emcee

2:55pm Sat 21 Dec 13

Stamper2 says...

And after the kids leave this school they can go to one of Basildon's. Great. How to wreck a child's education.....
And after the kids leave this school they can go to one of Basildon's. Great. How to wreck a child's education..... Stamper2

7:32am Sun 22 Dec 13

SwampDweller says...

emcee wrote:
I can only speak of secondary schools but the decisions of headteachers and the senior managment are often made to to make their job more comfortable, make themselves and the school look good and to reflect the requirement to appease Government statistics. The education of the children comes further down the list.
Also, the school governors and senior management are often "as thick as thieves" and only very rarely will a headteacher and senior mangement be held to account by the governors.
A sweeping statement. I don't believe this is the situation in all schools having seen the hard work that goes on at high levels that many people don't see.

In this case it appears though the governors were not effective enough to realise they were not performing their role properly in holding the Headteacher to account. They should be checking that teachers performance is being managed and this would have identified the weaknesses Ofsted picked up. Being judged Outstanding set the last inspection probably led to complacency. It wouldn't surprise me if the governors were removed and an interim board put in place.

The Headteacher must know what it takes to maintain standards as they were in post for the last 2 inspections looking at the last 2 reports, so my guess is the Head has seriously dropped the ball. Perhaps the deputy knew this and hence the "strained relations" the report refers to.

This school clearly has a lot of work to do to put things right. A big challenge for anyone leading the school forward will be to change the mind sets of the staff. Many teachers find it hard coping with change. As generally intelligent people themselves many think they know everything about how schools should be run, but in fact most don't.
[quote][p][bold]emcee[/bold] wrote: I can only speak of secondary schools but the decisions of headteachers and the senior managment are often made to to make their job more comfortable, make themselves and the school look good and to reflect the requirement to appease Government statistics. The education of the children comes further down the list. Also, the school governors and senior management are often "as thick as thieves" and only very rarely will a headteacher and senior mangement be held to account by the governors.[/p][/quote]A sweeping statement. I don't believe this is the situation in all schools having seen the hard work that goes on at high levels that many people don't see. In this case it appears though the governors were not effective enough to realise they were not performing their role properly in holding the Headteacher to account. They should be checking that teachers performance is being managed and this would have identified the weaknesses Ofsted picked up. Being judged Outstanding set the last inspection probably led to complacency. It wouldn't surprise me if the governors were removed and an interim board put in place. The Headteacher must know what it takes to maintain standards as they were in post for the last 2 inspections looking at the last 2 reports, so my guess is the Head has seriously dropped the ball. Perhaps the deputy knew this and hence the "strained relations" the report refers to. This school clearly has a lot of work to do to put things right. A big challenge for anyone leading the school forward will be to change the mind sets of the staff. Many teachers find it hard coping with change. As generally intelligent people themselves many think they know everything about how schools should be run, but in fact most don't. SwampDweller

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