New boss vows to transform Preston's failing Fulwood Academy

The new principal at a flagship academy has vowed to turn the school around after it was declared inadequate by education watchdogs.

By Sonja Astbury
Friday, 26th April 2019, 11:59 am
Updated Friday, 26th April 2019, 4:39 pm
Philip Grant says he has already started to change things at Fulwood Academy
Philip Grant says he has already started to change things at Fulwood Academy

Philip Grant took over the reins at the already flailing Fulwood Academy the day before inspectors from Ofsted moved in.

When inspectors visited Fulwood Academy in February they said standards had fallen so low they removed the "requires Improvement " grade it had held since 2016 and declared the school inadequate.

Besides a drop in educational standards, poor teaching and attendance, inspectors highlighted a worryingly rising trend of bullying, noting : “Of great concern is that only half way through this academic year the numbers (of logged incidents) are already higher than at the end of last year.”

The Black Bull Lane school has been in the government watchdog’s bad books for years.

In 2009 the former Fulwood High School controversially became the city’s first and only academy of it's kind, which means it is outside local authority control, and is now on it’s third headteacher since a new £25m state-of-the art building opened in the 2012/13 academic year.

Now though, new principal Philip Grant says his “rapid plan of improvement” is already having an impact, but says he is not "glossing over" the findings of the Ofsted report.

He says: “This plan focuses on behaviour, teaching and learning, curriculum and the quality of education, adding: “We’ve already tackled behaviour and children now understand what is required.”

Mr Grant took over the school the day before the inspection and was brought in by governors to drive up standards and in a message to parents today said: " I knew what challenges lay ahead of me, but contrary to the Ofsted report, which seems slightly out of date now, the school has a sound financial platform, a building which has some of the best facilities in the north and staff that are fully committed to seeing the academy succeed."

The principal says he will be vigorous in his bid to transform the school and has asked parents to support the challenge.

The school is part of the Dunstone Foundation, headed by Sir Charles Dunstone and was his flagship academy.

Sir Charles said: “ Philip has an incredible reputation as a very strong principal who has turned around a number of schools,” adding: “ He has hit the ground running."