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‘Morale is not dented’ - Outstanding Gorleston school became inadequate after academy conversion, inspectors rule

PUBLISHED: 06:30 06 February 2014

Lynn Grove High School, Gorleston.

Lynn Grove High School, Gorleston.

©Archant 2014

A Norfolk school’s standards dropped from outstanding to inadequate after it became an academy, Ofsted has ruled.

Lynn Grove High School, Gorleston. Lynn Grove High School, Gorleston.

Lynn Grove High School in Gorleston was inspected on December 4 and 5 last year and inspectors found it had “serious weaknesses”.

It is the first convertor academy in the county to be judged inadequate.

A convertor academy is a successful school that opted to become an academy to benefit from increased autonomy.

A report published this week stated much of the teaching required improvement, attainment had declined and pupils who were falling behind with work did not receive enough help to catch up.

Lead inspector Caroline Pardy said the achievement of students receiving the pupil premium was inadequate, pupils’ work was not always marked and staff did not always tell pupils about their learning targets.

But she noted that headteacher Alison Mobbs was working to make improvements, and new systems had already reduced the number of exclusions, improved attendance and boosted achievement in work-related subjects.

Ms Mobbs blamed the Ofsted report on recent GCSE students’ results, of which a “significant group... did not do as well as hoped”.

But she stressed that morale “is not dented” and vowed to quickly address the issues – with many changes already in place.

“The outcome of our inspection is deeply disappointing,” she said. “We think this is an inevitable consequence of our most recent GCSE results, when a significant group of students did not do as well as we hoped, and the fact that some of our pupils eligible for the pupil premium funding didn’t achieve the necessary targets.”

She said inspectors’ criticisms had helped identify areas for improvement, with teachers working together to ensure “lessons meet the needs of every student”.

She added that the leadership team was doing all it could, and noted that inspectors praised pupils’ behaviour and the “extensive” extracurricular activities on offer.

The opinions of parents were split.

Carla Weston said she felt standards had dropped and it was harsh for Ms Mobbs to “point the finger of blame” at some of the children.

But Tracy Mannall, who has two daughters at the school, said she had nothing but praise for staff.

She wrote: “Academically my children are doing excellently and when needed the pastoral care has been fantastic.

“I think the [Ofsted] report is grossly unfair.”

Lynn Grove had been judged as outstanding in October 2010, then became an academy in October 2011.

The school took nearby Woodlands Primary School in Bradwell under its wing in 2013 as its sponsor.


  • Keith S has a valid point. Most people, wherever they work, work hard and give a fair days work for a fair days pay. Imagine yourself being scrutinised by an outsider and being told that you are under performing when you thought that you were doing fine. That's exactly how the staff at Lynn Grove must feel. One Horse Town should read a little more carefully, the report actually praises the leadership and governance of the school. The report says that it is the current head teacher that has already made changes to deal with many of the issues but that they have not yet had an impact. You cannot compare times gone by with current days, the previous head will be disappointed, true, but it is more a case of changing times rather than declining standards. Norfolk in general is taking a pasting by Ofsted right now and it just wants the county to wake up and be a bit less rural in its ways. This is probably a call to wake up but is not a disaster as anyone who digs a little deeper will discover that on a like-for-like basis, the results of pupils at Lynn Grove are several percent better than a few of its neighbours. Take a look on Ofsted's dashboard - the results are there for all to see. Frodo makes a good observation that if we are not careful there will be no choice of school style left if the Ormiston organisation gets a firmer grip. The Ormiston approach of Americanising things makes me shudder.

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    Gorleston Gal

    Thursday, February 6, 2014

  • Why hasn't the head resigned? The report details that declining results were not the only reason - but down to poor teaching- which in turn is due to weak leadership. The previous strong head teacher must also be disappointed at how his school has declined. No good blaming ofsted. They apply the same criteria to all schools.

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    One Horse Town

    Thursday, February 6, 2014

  • It seems to me that rather than protect the quality of the education our schools provide, Ofsted is more intent in destroying it, but then that does keep them in well paid jobs.

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    Thursday, February 6, 2014

  • "No good blaming ofsted. They apply the same criteria to all schools".........OH NO THEY DON'T. So where are u Truss and Gove shouting about academies being the answer....failures are stacking up!

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    Thursday, February 6, 2014

  • I thought something was wrong because Lynn Grove didn't publish their GCSE results until well after other schools and Ormiston did better. This is really unusual for them. I have to say that my son and daughter both attended Lynn Grove about 15 years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it.

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    Thursday, February 6, 2014

  • Just to think only a few years ago this successful school was often lauded as a model of a good specialist school, and was a designated a teacher training school. Is this the first school in Norfolk to be classed as inadequate despite being just on the critical 50% GCSE pass rate? Obviously as it has now appeared on the radar of the various academy chains, would Ormiston be allowed to take over and then in effect have a virtual monopoly of secondary education in Gorleston? NCC School Option you want your child to go to an Ormiston School or an Ormiston School or an Ormiston School, please put your preferences in the boxes below.

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    Thursday, February 6, 2014

  • How the mighty Lynn Grove school has fallen !

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    Thursday, February 6, 2014

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