Djanogly City Academy told it must improve
A NOTTINGHAM school has been told by the Government it has to improve.
Djanogly City Academy is one of seven schools across the country to receive "pre-warning" letters from the Department for Education.
The letter expressed concern about attainment at the academy, particularly in its GCSE results.
Last summer, just 34 per cent of students gained the benchmark five A* to C grades including English and maths – six per cent below the national standard.
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Marks had been at a similar level since at least 2007, a Department for Education spokesman said, prompting it to send the letter.
The letters say the school must put in place measures to improve attainment or face being given a warning notice which could lead to further action, including Government intervention and a forced change of sponsor.
A spokesman for the department said: "Results in a minority of sponsored academies remain stubbornly low.
"We will not tolerate long-term under performance in any school – including in an academy.
"As with maintained schools, if these academies do not make the progress we expect, we will take further action. This may result in a change to the sponsorship arrangements."
Last year, eight academies received letters. This led to an average improvement in the number of 16-year-olds reaching the GCSE benchmark of 16 per cent.
No time limits have been given for the improvement for Djanogly City Academy.
The Government spokesman said it would be monitored to make sure plans were in place to oversee it.
The academy has also struggled with absenteeism.
In the autumn and spring term 2011-12, nearly 15 per cent of students were persistently absent – meaning they missed around 15 per cent of lessons.
In its latest Ofsted inspection in October 2011, it was rated "satisfactory" overall, though attainment was rated "inadequate". Some other areas were rated "good", including how pupils contributed to the wider community.
The academy brought in a new principal last summer in Andy Kilpatrick, who has overseen vast improvements at his previous schools – including a 17 per cent improvement in GCSE results at one.
Fiona Corbett's son Luke, 17, left the academy last summer with four Bs and six Cs, including English and maths, but she felt the letter was warranted.
"It was a terrible school," she said. "There were issues with behaviour there. I'm not surprised it's had this letter. Luckily, Luke left with some good grades. But perhaps they could have been better elsewhere."
Mr Kilpatrick said: "The governors at Djanogly City Academy were aware standards were not as they should be and have pre-empted the Office of School Commissioners by setting in place an improvement plan. The academy is on track to meet the challenging targets it has set itself, including achieving 52 per cent with 5 GCSE grades A-C including English and Maths this year.
"Students are showing rapid progress and are responding to the targets. Additional support is being provided where needed and students are frequently assessed."