School put into special measures after failing inspection

inspectors are demanding action to improve a Blyth school after ruling that it is failing to give its students the required standard of education.

The Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) has put Blyth School Community College into special measures to tackle shortcomings identified during a two-day inspection carried out just before Easter.

The inspection team that visited the school, created ten years ago by merging the former Tynedale and Ridley high schools, concluded that it is inadequate in a number of areas.

And the inspectors say that those responsible for leading, managing and governing the school do not appear to have the ability to make the necessary improvements.

They initially gave the college a notice to improve, but that was then followed by an amended ruling requiring special measures to be taken.

It is now possible that Northumberland County Council will take over responsibility for the school’s budget and make changes to its board of governors.

There will also be regular Ofsted inspections to ensure that the required improvements are being made so that the college can eventually be removed from special measures.

Governors’ chairman Derick Knott said the Ofsted decision to put the college in special measures was both a surprise and a disappointment.

He claimed the Chase Farm Drive school had fallen victim to a changed Ofsted regime which no longer takes into account the added value provided by schools in deprived areas such as Blyth.

The school, rated as satisfactory following its previous Ofsted inspection in 2008, teaches 1,000 youngsters aged 11 to 18.

It has an above-average number of youngsters with special educational needs or in receipt of free school meals.

Blyth Valley MP Ronnie Campbell said: “This is a bit of a disaster for the school, and there is no doubt that it has to start pulling its socks up and doing better.

“These kids are from deprived areas of Blyth, and it is essential they get a good standard of education.

“We are very concerned, and it needs to be put right very, very quickly.”

Tony Mays, head of early years and schools at the county council, said: “Blyth School Community College was inspected just before Easter.

“We have been given verbal feedback following the inspection, but all judgements are subject to moderation by Ofsted.

“We have not received confirmation of these judgements yet, so we are unable to add anything further at this time.”