Give back control of schools to headteachers

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Schools should be places of learning, friendship and routine.

It’s where you learn right from wrong, kindness and the confidence to aim high.

But it’s clear that children at Stamshaw Junior School are not receiving the kind of education that every child deserves, if you read the outcome of the latest Ofsted inspection, on page 7 of today’s News.

Portswood Primary Academy Trust, based in Southampton, took over the running of the school three years ago on the promise of rapid improvement.

If anything, under Portswood, things may well have got worse.

The Tipner Road school has been deemed to require improvement.

Allegations of widespread bullying prove that pupils do not feel safe.

And from what parents have to say it sounds more like Lord of the Flies.

The high turnover of supply teachers is not good for children. Children need routine to thrive and feel secure.

How has Portswood let this happen?

The trust has had three years to make significant improvements but it has only made tiny steps. In a rare glimmer of hope Ofsted inspectors say school leaders have established a ‘calm, purposeful and positive atmosphere.’

But when it comes to the basics – reading, writing and maths, pupils are not achieving consistently well.

The trust runs five schools – and only one in Portsmouth.

Under academy trusts, schools are usually better off financially, which in theory should lead to better quality teaching. That hasn’t happened here.

Isn’t it time to go back to the school being in the control of the headteacher, not remote managers in a city miles away from where the learning and nurturing should be taking place.