COUNCILLORS have quizzed the authority supporting academies in the borough after Northern House school was rated ‘inadequate’ by the schools’ watchdog.

Northern House School Special Academy on Gipsy Lane, Wokingham, was given the grading in November last year and is run by Northern House School Academy Trust (NHSAT) meaning it is not under direct control of the council.

Members of Wokingham Borough Council’s children’s services scrutiny panel were given the chance to ask what the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) is doing to address failings at the academy, which hosts special educational needs (SEN) children.

Councillor Prue Bray asked what would happen if the measures being taken do not result in improvements at the school.

Tom Gregory, RSC representative, said: “We would look at transferring the academy from one trust to another.

“What we are quite clear about is having children in inadequate schools is just enough good enough.”

Catherine Turton-Ryz, another representative for the RSC, said she was in regular contact with the Trust running the school.

She added: “I met with them in August and I spoke with them about their improvement plan and what they are doing to come out of special measures.”

Ms Turton-Ryz said she was due to meet the school’s senior staff this week to discuss what progress was being made

and claimed: “At the moment we are challenging them to make sure the teachers in the trust has the support to make improvements."

Cllr Pauline Helliar-Symons, executive member for children’s services at WBC, asked the RSC representatives what they have done to implement changes at Northern House.

Catherine Turton-Ryz told councillors the RSC had undertaken two Trust reviews and will undertake another review examining the progress the school has made from December to March.

When Ofsted visited School Academy Trust in October 2018 it was claimed assessors saw a child on the roof of the school building.

Ofsted’s report ranked the school as being ‘inadequate’ in all four categories it was assessed on, including leadership, teaching, personal development and outcomes for pupils.

The document read: “Safeguarding is not effective. Pupils are at risk of harm because of very unsafe behaviour, low attendance and insufficient supervision.”

It continued: “Over time, leaders have failed to support staff to address pupils’ very challenging behaviours. This places pupils and staff at risk.”

However, the report added: “The new headteacher is firmly focused on securing the best outcomes for pupils. She has made essential changes quickly to improve the school.”