FIFTEEN months after moving into a £25-million pound campus, the
flagship University Church of England Academy, Ellesmere Port, has
been deemed inadequate by inspectors from OFSTED. The report blames
weak teaching and poor classroom behaviour for lower-than-expected
attainment by the 947 pupils.
The report also criticises the governing body, which is chaired
by the Bishop of Chester, Dr Peter Forster, for failing rigorously
to monitor standards.
OFSTED has now named a successful RC school, St John Plessington
College, as the University Academy's improvement partner, and the
college head, Tom Quinn, as the academy's executive principal.
Mr Quinn, a national school leader, will work closely with Kevin
McDermott, the academy's principal since 2009, to put in place the
inspectors' recommendations, parents were told in a joint
The University C of E Academy, which replaced two
local-authority schools, opened in 2009. A high proportion of
pupils qualify for the pupil premium given to schools in
exceptionally challenging areas.
Originally, the academy was sponsored jointly by Chester
University, the diocese of Chester, and West Cheshire and Chester
Council. But, after the move to a purpose-built campus last year,
the university became the sole sponsor.
The diocesan director of education, Jeff Turnbull, who is on the
board of governors, said: "The academy is in a challenging area,
but this is all the more reason why our children deserve the best
Mr McDermott said in a statement on Monday: "A number of
positive aspects of the academy's provision were identified by
OFSTED, but the rate of progress . . . needs to improve
"OFSTED was incredibly positive about the students at the
academy, and it also recognised that we were aware of, and had
begun addressing, all of the areas for improvement which were
identified. With the support of Mr Quinn, Executive Principal, I am
confident that we will now accelerate the progress that we have