A new school funded by a mobile phone billionaire has been deemed ‘inadequate’ by inspectors.
Fulwood Academy at Preston, founded by Sir Charles Dunstone of the Carphone Warehouse, has been put into special measures by Ofsted after four inspectors observed 35 different lessons and criticised teaching, learning and management in an 11-page report described as ‘scathing’.
The number of pupils achieving five GCSEs between A* and C is below average at the academy, which was a 2009 merger between Fulwood High School and Arts College and the Tulketh High School. The school is the only privately-sponsored state school in Lancashire and controversially funded directly from the Department for Education in London. The school roll has recently fallen from 1,200 to 774, with 102 students in the sixth form.
Rebekah Brooks, the former editor of the News of The World, resigned as a governor last year. She had been due to present the end of term prizes when she resigned in February 2012 before her arrest on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
In a joint statement on the critical Ofsted report Sir Charles and the academy principal Richard Smyth said: ‘As a school we place the greatest emphasis on discipline, attendance and personal development. Ofsted have indicated to us that we must now place greater emphasis on our academic progress and we are confident that the school is now ready to take on this challenge.’
Mark Hendrick, Labour MP for Preston, told the Lancashire Evening Post, ‘I’m totally bewildered by the lack of progress at the school. It is not accountable to the local authority, but Mr Smyth and his management carry on as if it were some sort of independent school, therefore not accountable to the local community. The school is state-funded.’