No good trying to cover up problem

TIM Rose criticises me for referring to failures at the Sir Robert Woodard Academy and formerly Boundstone.

This is not my description, but that of Ofsted, which has twice now put the school in special measures.

This is not something that they have done lightly and it is a tragedy for the many staff, students and governors who have worked hard to build a school that can provide the standard of education that the local community deserve.

I know first-hand how well Boundstone has done in many areas in the past, particularly under former head Richard Evea, and I have always said so publicly, but simply trying to deny that there is a problem now and claiming that everything was rosy back in 2006 before the Woodard Trust came along helps no one.

I suspect it does, though, betray the real political prejudices against academies that is obviously behind Mr Rose’s ill-informed letter.

In my report to constituents at the recent parents’ evening and to others who have come to me with their concerns, I have been at pains to highlight the many positives in pastoral care that Ofsted also identified.

This provides a firm base for the school to get up to speed academically helped by an impressive injection of new leadership and, of course, the excellent new buildings.

That is why I have spent so much time working with the trust, governors and teachers to help get things back on track and make sure the Woodard Trust are doing the right things to produce sustainable improvements.

As a minister in the Education Department, I am particularly ambitious that we can do so much better for the education of my constituents in Adur and Worthing and I work closely with all my 30 schools to help them achieve that.

But you cannot work together to solve a problem by trying to cover it up in the first place.

Tim Loughton

MP for East Worthing and Shoreham and minister for children and families