Council moves to make Mexborough academy

NEW headteacher Mirjam Buhler-Willey.
NEW headteacher Mirjam Buhler-Willey.

Doncaster Council is paving the way to turn troubled Mexborough School into an academy.

As expected, the school’s governors were suspended as education chiefs rubber-stamped its council take-over at a meeting last week.

The school had been immediately placed into Special Measures after a damning Ofsted report in January said: “the persons responsible for leading, managing or governing the school are not demonstrating the capacity to secure the necessary improvement”.

Doncaster Council’s Cabinet met last Wednesday and decided the governing body should be suspended and the best way forward would be to turn the school into an academy.

Mexborough councillor Sue Phillips, who quit her role as Chair of Governors following the Ofsted report, had already called for the school to become an academy.

She told the Times: “We have to act now for the sake of our kids’ education – and the fastest way is to get academy status.

“If the council keeps control, we will get out of Special Measures, but once that has been achieved, the school will be left standing alone again to slide straight back again unless the problems are addressed properly.”

Following the Cabinet’s decision, she said: “We have recommended that the school should become an academy sooner rather than later.

“Mayor Peter Davies has taken on board our recommendation that the school should be fast tracked to academy status.”

With the governors gone, control of the school’s budget and staff has now been handed over to DMBC.

Director of Children’s Services, Chris Pratt, backed headteacher Mirjam Bühler-Willey and said she has only been in the job for a few months.

In his report to the Cabinet, he said he had confidence in her ability to exercise the necessary leadership to improve standards and take the school out of Special Measures.

He added that Ms Bühler-Willey will be given the necessary support to turn things around.

Councillor Andrea Milner, cabinet member for children’s services, recommended that the council should use its powers to convert the school into an academy.

She added the authority should now seek sponsorship as “the most appropriate way of securing an improvement”.

Mayor Peter Davies said: “There is no pleasure in seeing a school in Special Measures and not doing very well.

“But equally what this shows is we are not prepared to tolerate poor education in Doncaster and we need to ameliorate the situation.

“Hopefully, a first class academy provider will be prevailed upon to take on Mexborough. Mexborough deserves a good school.”