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Education provider admits Brandon free school under-performance

Alison Tilbrook, new headteacher at IES Breckland in Brandon. ENGANL00120140402114655

Alison Tilbrook, new headteacher at IES Breckland in Brandon. ENGANL00120140402114655

A private education provider has admitted its free school in Brandon has not been performing as expected following a turbulent few months.

Bosses at Sweden-based Internationella Engelska Skolan say their inspection at IES Breckland following the departure of its principal revealed it ‘wasn’t representative of our schools or our vision of how our schools should be’.

Ofsted also visited the school recently with the results expected to be made public within the next few weeks.

The school has faced upheaval in recent months with the depature of former principal Sherry Zand, who left in November to support her family in Surrey. This came weeks after six staff also left the school.

However, Alison Tilbrook, former vice-principal at the Iceni Academy, in Methwold, has recently taken the reins at IES Breckland – pledging to bring it to the ‘top of its game’.

A spokesman for IES said: “We inspected our school in Brandon after the former principal stepped down and decided that it wasn’t representative of our schools or our vision of how our schools should be.

“With this in mind we set to work to make improvements at the school so that it could provide the education the students deserve. This Ofsted inspection came in the middle of a process of change at the school, strengthening the leadership and teaching staff. This is an ongoing process which sees some upheaval in the short term in order to produce a long-term result.

“Our impression was that the inspectors perceived that we were already addressing the issues they raised and we hope that this will be reflected in the report when it is published.”

He added that changes made were ‘already showing improvement’ and the school was ‘moving in the right direction’.

The company has ploughed about £250,000 into the school since it opened which includes two minibuses, recruitment advertising and costs for setting up as a business.

Since Mrs Tilbrook was appointed principal, it has appointed two heads of department, two maths teachers and an assistant head. It is advertising for a head of English, a SENCO and resistant materials teacher.

Forest Heath District Cllr Eddie Stewart, former chairman of Sabres which campaigned for the free school, said he was ‘saddened’ by the findings of the IES internal inspection.

He added: “I’m confident they will turn it around.”

County Cllr Reg Silvester, who is also chairman of Brandon Town Council, said: “I’ve been getting conflicting reports from families who have children there.

“The problem is that different parents have different ideas of what they want from a school.”

 

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