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Alderman Blaxill School

Volume 473: debated on Monday 17 March 2008

4. If he will visit the Alderman Blaxill school in Colchester to discuss its future with the head teacher, staff, governors, pupils, parents and representatives of the local community. (194066)

I am obviously very grateful for the invitation from the hon. Gentleman and I am of course aware of the representations that he has been making about the future of Alderman Blaxill school, not least through last year’s Adjournment debate, to which I responded. I know that there is an urgent need to raise standards at that school for the benefit of pupils, parents and the whole community.

I am not sure whether the Minister will visit, but if not, will he receive a delegation from the school? Will he confirm that the latest Ofsted report, which was published this month, says that the school is now making satisfactory progress, which is no doubt entirely down to the inspirational leadership of executive head Mr. Jonathan Tippett? In view of the Minister’s earlier comment that we should be looking more at federations, does he accept that the community resolution of the Roman river federation of secondary schools in south and west Colchester is the right way forward to save the three schools concerned?

I am pleased to hear that the hon. Gentleman thinks that the executive head who has been brought in is doing a good job, and that is certainly what I have been told. However, the reports that I have from what I think was the most recent monitoring visit, in February—there may have been a more recent visit since then—show that progress since going into special measures is still inadequate. I have not been briefed on the Roman river federation, but I am very happy to look at the issue and to meet and talk with the hon. Gentleman, who has met my noble Friend Lord Adonis on a number of occasions to discuss the matter.