Doncaster academy placed in special measures

Danum School Technology College. Picture: Marie Caley D1036MC
Danum School Technology College. Picture: Marie Caley D1036MC

One of Doncaster’s biggest schools has been put into special measures by Government inspectors.

Danum Academy in Armthorpe Road has dramatically dropped two stages in the official Ofsted rating, from ‘good’ to an ‘inadequate’ classification.

The September inspections found that achievement and progress between Years 7 and 11 was slow, and weak in mathematics particularly, and that attendance is low. The report states: “School judgements about teaching have not been accurate enough and teachers have not been held sufficiently to account for students’ progress. Too often students do not take an interest in lessons. Some rely on adult support too much and have not learned to take the lead in their learning.”

The 1,611 pupil secondary school became an academy in October 2011, and is supported by the Centre for British Teachers.

New headteacher Rebecca Staples took up her role at the start of the autumn term to make ‘significant steps in the academy’s improvement journey’.

She said: “The issues highlighted by the report had all already been addressed by our new school improvement plan, so while I am of course disappointed in Ofsted’s judgement I am confident we are already turning things around at Danum.

“This cannot happen overnight but we are already starting to see a difference and the inspectors themselves recognised this in their report.

“I have a great team in place and, with the support of the Centre for British Teachers, I look forward to seeing positive results very soon.”

The schools director at the CfBT Schools Trust, Anna Crispin, said: “We are working closely with Danum to provide the necessary resources and support to ensure rapid improvement.

“The appointment of Rebecca Staples at the beginning of this term is a significant step in the academy’s improvement journey. Rebecca’s focus, clarity and leadership skills will help to effectively implement improvements.”

Despite the concerns which were raised in their report, the inspectors did note that among the academy’s strengths was its sixth form where teaching is good and students achieve well, particularly in maths.

And effective leadership in English has led to improved GCSE results.

It added: “The headteacher has quickly understood the school’s priorities. She has drive and ambition and has gained the confidence of the staff.”