‘Students will fail GCSEs’: Parent criticises Northampton school for handling of staff shortages

The concerned mother question why the school remained open and says her daughter has missed so much

Thursday, 21st October 2021, 5:01 pm

A Northampton secondary school has been criticised by a parent who says students ‘will fail their GCSEs’ due to how the school has handled staff shortages.

Northampton International Academy, in Barrack Road, part of the East Midlands Academy Trust, has come under fire for what parents have described as ‘absolutely horrendous’ educational environments.

One parent, whose child is in Year 11, claims there have been a number of issues over the course of three weeks due to staff shortages, which the school has linked to Covid-19, petrol shortages and ‘seasonal illnesses’.

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Northampton International Academy.

In response to the claims, the school says absences have reduced and ‘normal routines’ have resumed.

The mother, who wishes to remain anonymous, says her daughter was part of an English class taught via Zoom by a teacher in another classroom, however the two classes were at different stages of the module, so one class was left confused.

The concerned parent also claims that her daughter had a physics lesson led by a substitute teacher who said they ‘had no idea about the subject’ and told the class ‘to copy from the board’.

The frustrated mum said: “If they can’t get enough teachers in, why is the school even open?

“My daughter has missed so much and they will all 100 percent fail their GCSEs if this carries on.”

On one occasion last Friday (October 15), the whole year group were told they would have a learn from home day and that work would be uploaded to an online portal, however the mum says this work was never uploaded so the students had no work to complete.

The issues, plus earlier safeguarding issues, led to the parent writing to Ofsted to express her concerns and removing her daughter from school as she believes she will get more done by revising at home.

The mum added: “After I took my daughter out of school there was more in her notebooks from revising at home for an afternoon than there has been in the last three weeks at school.

“I will keep her at home and she will do a lot better, but I know she’ll have to go back after half term as they have mock exams to sit.”

In response to the claims, the school says absences have reduced and ‘normal routines’ have resumed - a statement which the parent disputes.

A spokeswoman for Northampton International Academy said: “Along with the whole country we have faced the increased challenges caused by the significant and sustained high local Covid-19 infection rates.

“This situation has been compounded by the petrol shortage and associated travel disruption, normal seasonal illnesses and the daily fluctuation in attendance.

“It was clear that we needed to be proactive and look at our Covid-19 mitigation plans, as we have done throughout the pandemic, to reduce any negative impact on our ability to continue to provide our pupils with high quality learning and teaching during that time.

“We therefore took the decision to introduce a rota of blended learning across some year groups for two weeks to both ensure we could sustain the pupils’ education and also provide a form of circuit breaker.

“This enabled us to continue to safely operate and manage the risk in the school of further infection.

“We ensured that disruption was kept to a minimum for all students and for Year 11 in particular as we recognise that this is an important time for those students.

“The school has since had a reduction in infection rates and absences and has returned to normal routines.”

The school, which is currently rated 'good' by Ofsted, was subject to a monitoring visit in September after safeguarding issues were raised. Inspectors found safeguarding to be 'effective'.