Knockhall Primary School Faces Threat of Closure as Department of Education Issues Termination Warning Notice

Knockhall Primary School Faces Threat of Closure as Department of Education Issues Termination Warning Notice

Greenhithe’s Knockhall Primary School is facing a serious threat of closure after receiving a termination warning notice from the Department of Education (DfE). However, the school’s head teacher is determined to turn things around and prevent this from happening.

The Woodland Academy Trust, which oversees Knockhall Primary, was issued the warning on February 20. The notice, which was only made public last week, stated that the DfE has concerns about the trust’s ability to make necessary improvements at the school. This puts the school’s government funding at risk, potentially leading to its closure or absorption by another multi-academy trust.

The DfE’s concerns stem from two recent Ofsted inspections in September 2019 and June 2023, where Knockhall Primary was rated as “requires improvement.” These inspections highlighted issues with the teaching of reading, curriculum planning, and support for students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The DfE believes that the trust may not have the capacity to drive necessary improvements at the school.

One of the main concerns raised by Ofsted was the lack of a detailed curriculum, which hinders the development of students’ knowledge and thinking skills. The inspectors also found that teachers were not providing enough opportunities for students to understand difficult concepts. Additionally, the attendance of students with additional needs was found to be too low, with a high number of them being persistently absent.

In response to the termination warning notice, the trust has been asked to create a school improvement plan and provide updates on its progress every half-term. The first update was due on May 17. The trust has stated that it has already begun working on addressing the concerns with the help of a new head teacher.

A spokesperson for The Woodland Academy Trust told us: “We are taking this warning very seriously and have already made significant progress in addressing the issues raised since the June 2023 inspection. Our new head teacher is dedicated to improving the well-being and educational success of our students, and we are committed to making Knockhall Primary School a source of pride for our community.”

Knockhall Primary has been under the management of The Woodland Trust since 2017 and is one of four other schools run by the trust in the London area. With the support of the trust and the dedication of the school’s staff, it is hoped that Knockhall Primary will be able to overcome these challenges and continue providing quality education to its students for many years to come.

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