MP develops action plan for failing Wigan school

An MP has called on education bosses to deliver an emergency action plan to save a failing Wigan school after two teachers and two Governors resigned amid management chaos.

Thursday, 10th May 2018, 3:18 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th May 2018, 4:56 pm
Parents have concerns over "serious decline" at Mossy Lea Primary School

As reported in the Wigan Observer, Mossy Lea Primary School in Wrightington faces closure after droves of parents pulled their children from the establishment over concerns of a “serious decline” in standards over the past three years, leaving just six students on the books for the next academic year.

Anxious parents have contacted Rosie Cooper, West Lancashire MP, describing a “crisis” situation at Mossy Lea and alleging a lack of teachers due to staff sickness and a shortage in applications due to an email sent from the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) advising its members not to apply for the headship.

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In a statement, Mrs Cooper explains that on the same day as the unprecedented NAHT email, two teachers left the school with immediate effect, based on union advice.

Following the further resignation of two Governors, the NAHT lifted its “ban” on members working at the school.

Mrs Cooper MP said: “A situation where a school is shedding teachers, shedding governors and shedding pupils cannot be allowed to drift and must have an immediate recovery plan implemented.

“Many parents at the school have contacted me, distressed at the ongoing situation and being left in the dark for so long about just what was happening at Mossy Lea Primary School.

“Having met with Lancashire County Council’s executive director of education and children’s services John Readman and chief executive Angie Ridgwell recently, it was agreed that serious action was needed in schools across West Lancashire, from the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) provision, to Burscough Priory and now including Mossy Lea Primary.

“Lancashire County Council, as the Local Education Authority, have assured me that a range of immediate actions is being taken to halt the current decline, with a radical overhaul of the governing body and experienced governors coming on board, and access to enhanced training and support from LCC and the Teaching School Alliance.

“However, these measures will only go some way to stop the current decline and start to give confidence back to parents that the school is moving in the right direction, what we need to see now is a sustained period of positive action and rebuilding so that parents can have faith in the school again.”

Following reports of children being pulled from the school due to uncertainty from parents, MP Mrs Cooper contacted the executive director of education and children’s services at Lancashire County Council to seek an urgent update on the situation at the school and query why families were not being kept in the loop.

In an urgent phone call and subsequent letter, Lancashire County Council assured Mrs Cooper MP that they had drafted in the “experienced head teacher” of an outstanding school in Preston to oversee operations two days a week.

As well as his head teaching accolades, Dave Fann is also a National Leader of Education and is a serving Ofsted inspector.

The council also informed the MP that the governing body has been bolstered by new members, Alan Whittaker who is chair of governors at Eccleston and Andy Purcell, who is head teacher at a Chorley primary school - who will bring two more governors with him.

Mossy Lea will also now have immediate access to support in training for all staff through the Teaching School Alliance

The school will also continue to receive support from local authority advisers and consultants

A newsletter has now been sent to all parents informing them of developments

An Ofsted report of the school from January last year rated the overall effectiveness of the school as requires Improvement, down from Good, and rated Requires Improvement in four out of five areas.

MP Rosie has also taken the issue up with the Education Secretary, Ofsted chair and NAHT president.