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Bicester college head leaves after Ofsted slating
THE head of crisis-hit Bicester Community College has left by “mutual agreement” and been replaced.
Jason Clarke left after council bosses won Government permission to sack the school’s 18 governors after a damning Ofsted inspection.
An interim executive board (IEB) has now appointed Cooper School, Bicester head Ben Baxter as interim head from Monday April 15.
In a statement, the council said it had been “assessing over recent weeks how best to take things forward” at the Queen’s Avenue school.
It said: “Previous headteacher Jason Clarke has mutually agreed to leave his position as the IEB begins to make changes to help improve the provision of education.”
Mr Clarke could not be reached for comment.
The school was placed in special measures last month after Ofsted rated achievement, quality of teaching, behaviour and safety of pupils and leadership and management as inadequate.
This led Oxfordshire County Council to successfully apply to the Department for Education to remove the governing body.
Cabinet member for education Melinda Tilley said she did not know details of how Mr Clarke came to stand down, adding it was a decision by the IEB.
Yet she repeated her view that the Ofsted report was “one of the worst that I’ve ever seen”.
She said: “The new governance structure has begun to take decisions to pave the best way forward for a better standard of education for the pupils at Bicester Community College and I fully support the work that is being undertaken.”
She said Mr Baxter had a “fantastic pedigree” and added: “I think [he] will turn around the college in a short time.”
Chairman of the IEB Bob Wintringham said in a statement that Mr Baxter “brings with him considerable expertise that will strengthen the school leadership team as we begin the work to transform the fortunes of the school”. Mr Clarke last month admitted that his aim of securing good teachers and raising pupil attainment had been “slow” and gave his “sincere apologies”.
He said: “I remain fully committed to finishing the job I started and very much welcome the support the local authority is now putting in place.
“However, to succeed, the support of parents, staff and students is essential.”
Ofsted’s previous 2010 inspection rated the school as satisfactory. Mr Baxter will continue to lead The Cooper School, which was rated outstanding in 2011.
He said: “I am delighted to take on this role and see it is as a significantly supportive move towards helping a neighbouring school.”