Over in neighbouring Derby City, the local authority is going to law to fight the enforced academisation of Sinfin School. It has a rather chequered history, it’s true: the school has been in ‘special measures’ before and survived a terrible fire which necessitated the school being completely rebuilt. Funnily enough, with a brand new school it was ripe to become an academy but this was successfully fought off.
Sinfin serves a ‘challenging’ area and the LA had concerns and therefore an improvement plan; it was being supported by a nearby ‘outstanding school’ but nonetheless, it ‘failed’ its OFSTED inspection in 2011 and was put back into special measures. The head cried ‘foul’ at the time but the exam data was not good. However, in the 2012 GCSE exams it did better and in fact scraped over the government’s so-called ‘floor target’ which says that all schools, irrespective of the prior performance of students, should get at least 40% of them achieving 5 or more GCSE grade Cs, including English and Maths (usually abbreviated to 5+EM). This was not good enough for Michael Gove, however, and he has sent in his troops to set about ‘consulting’ on academy status.