Grange School at Warmley taken out of special measures

grange signThe Grange School & Sports College has been removed from special measures – but a final decision to close it is still expected to take place next month.

In April 2013 the school was deemed by Ofsted to be failing and placed into special measures. The Cabot Learning Federation was sent in to help it improve and there have been regular inspections.

The decision to remove the special measures status was taken by Her Majesty’s Inspector of Schools last Thursday.

On the school’s website this week the interim principal Martina Veale thanks staff, students and parents for their support and hard work over the past 20 months.

“This change of status by HMI recognises the hard work of all at the school over the past months. Well done to everyone involved.”

In December councillors voted to close the school, despite pleas from parents, pupils, senior staff, unions and Labour politicians. The closure is, however, backed by all secondary headteachers in South Gloucestershire.

The school is considered to be ailing, with a growing budget deficit and rapidly falling roll. Last September the Year 7 intake was just nine. It is so run down that repair work has been put at over £10m.

Ms Veale is also the principal of the new Digitech Studio School which is due to open on the Grange campus in September. It will cater for up to 360 students aged 14 to 19 and will be the first in the South West to specialise in creative, digital and hi-tech industries.

The funding for the Studio School is dependent on the closure of the Grange. There is no firm guarantee of a place at the new Studio School for Grange pupils, and some parents say it would not necessarily be the right school for their children and they fear there may be no spaces at other schools close by.

Run-down: the Grange

Run-down: the Grange

A public notice on the closure was issued last month and the final decision is expected to be taken at the meeting of the Children & Young People Committee on 4th March. The school is scheduled to close in August 2017.

At a council meeting in December, Labour councillor Terry Walker (Kings Chase) called for a “thorough investigation” into the way the authority’s education department had handled the closure process.

And Nigel Varley, from the NUT, told the meeting that the Grange had been treated in an “appalling and shambolic” way.