I’ve written to the Education Secretary about the future of William Torbitt Primary School.
The school’s recent Ofsted inspection confirms it is a good school and that the leadership are doing a great job in addressing some of the weaknesses identified last year.
Parents don’t want to see William Torbitt subjected to further disruption by becoming an academy school. In light of the recent Ofsted report, there are no grounds to proceed with forced academisation against the wishes of parents. The school is improving rapidly as part of the Redbridge local authority family.
You can read the letter below:
Dear Secretary of State
Re: William Torbitt Primary School
Following the publication of the latest Ofsted inspection of William Torbitt Primary School on the 9th and 10th January, I am writing to ask that you revoke the academy order issued in the wake of the previous inspection that deemed the school inadequate.
The school has clearly made remarkable progress since the inspection of June 2018, with the support of the leadership team brokered by the London Borough of Redbridge. The report states that ‘strong leadership from the interim headteacher and consultant deputy headteacher has transformed the school. Consequently, staff at all levels are well supported and challenged, resulting in the rapid improvements seen.’
The report also notes that ‘leaders, governors and staff have successfully transformed the culture of safeguarding and care for pupils’ and that governors ‘take their responsibilities seriously and have a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the school. They provide a good balance of challenge and support to senior leaders.’
It is hard to see, at this stage, what an academy order would achieve, beyond disruption to a school community that is already well in to its improvement journey. Furthermore, parents, staff, governors and the local authority have made clear their determination to see this improvement journey through to completion and their opposition to forced academisation at this stage.
As the Member of Parliament for Ilford North, I have the advantage of visiting schools that span the entire breadth of the publicly-funded school system. We have good and outstanding local authority maintained schools, academies, free schools and a grammar school. Some are faith based, others are not. I am proud of all of our schools and parents in my constituency value choice. If I felt that academisation of William Torbitt Primary School would lead to a better experience and learning outcomes for pupils, I wouldn’t be writing to you. But given the track record of the local authority in education and school improvement and the demonstrable progress that has already been made, I see no good reason to justify the disruption that an academy order would bring.
This case strikes me as remarkably similar to the case of Snaresbrook Primary School, which also serves children from my constituency, where Michael Gove concluded that academisation was not necessary and where the school is flourishing as part of the local authority family. I hope that you will look carefully and favourably on the case for reaching the same conclusion here.
Wes Streeting MP
Member of Parliament for Ilford North