THREE years after it opened, in January 2009, Christ the King Centre for Learning, in Knowsley, Liverpool, a joint Church of England-Roman Catholic venture, has been given an official notice to improve by the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED). About half its 800 places are empty.
The improvement notice means that, without a swift rise in results, Christ the King could be forced to adopt academy status, an option that is now being considered by the Anglican and Roman Catholic diocesan education authorities in Liverpool, it is understood.
Knowsley Council, whose overall secondary school examination results are among the worst in the country, serves what is officially recognised as one of the most disadvantaged boroughs in England. In an attempt to raise standards, the council spent £157 million, under Labour’s Building Schools for the Future scheme, to replace its secondary schools, renaming them “learning centres”. Teachers were known as “progress leaders”.
Among them was Christ the King, which represents the C of E diocese of Liverpool’s only secondary-school involvement in the area, although Knowsley has six C of E primaries, and one joint C of E-RC primary, almost all have outstanding or good ratings.
Christ the King Centre got off to a good start, Liverpool’s diocesan director of education, Jon Richardson, said. Its GCSE results in 2010 made it one of the most improved schools in the country. But it had since declined again.
One of the problems facing Knowsley is that many abler pupils, and those from aspiring families, turn down places to attend more successful schools in Liverpool city, several of which are church schools.