Page last updated at 12:29 GMT, Wednesday, 7 April 2010 13:29 UK

Swansea's Daniel James school in special measures

Daniel James Community School
GCSE pass rates were "significantly below local and national averages."

A secondary school in Swansea has been placed in special measures following a critical inspection earlier this year.

Daniel James Community School was found to be performing "significantly less well" in English, maths and science compared to similar schools.

Inspectors raised concerns over the school's leadership and management and the effectiveness of teaching.

Swansea council has installed a new management team after the head teacher and his deputy retired last week.

The school in Treboeth, which has just over 600 pupils between the ages of 11 and 16, was visited by Estyn inspectors in the first four days in February.

Inspectors found standards had fallen since they last visited the school and "lessons which had good and outstanding features are significantly below the averages for Wales in 2008-2009."

If a school is placed in special measures it is felt improvement will only be made if extra support is available from the local education authority (LEA) and possibly other sources.
The definition states: "The school is failing to give its pupils a satisfactory standard of education and the persons responsible for leading, managing or governing the school are not demonstrating the capacity to secure the necessary improvement."
The LEA and school's governing body must submit an action plan for approval to Estyn within 45 days addressing the findings in the inspection report.
Re-inspection visits are made every term until the school has made sufficient progress for Estyn to recommend that special measures can be removed.
Since 2005, 21 primary, secondary, special schools, and pupil referral units have been placed in special measures in Wales. Currently there are four primary and two secondary.
Source: Estyn

As well as English, maths and science they also raised concerns about the teaching of Welsh as a second language.

The percentage of pupils at the school entered for GCSEs was significantly less than the average for Wales and pass rates at five or more grades A*-C were significantly below local and national averages.

The report states: "There are important shortcomings in the quality of leadership and management across the school."

Head teacher Paul Smith and his deputy Eddie Gracia retired before the Easter break.

Swansea council said it had appointed a new management board "to provide advice and management support to the governors and staff at the school."

It consists of two head teachers, a deputy head teacher and experts in education and finance.

The council's education director Richard Parry said: "It is extremely disappointing for everyone that the Estyn inspection has resulted in the school being placed in special measures.

Act quickly

"We have taken a number of actions to help address the shortcomings identified by the inspectors and to provide the school with extra support in order to make the necessary improvements."

Council leader Chris Holley said: "We want every pupil at Daniel James to be able to reach their potential and it is vital that everything is done to ensure the pupils and staff have the support they need to achieve this.

"I am pleased that the director has acted quickly to address issues highlighted by the inspectors.

"The management board has the necessary expertise and experience to support the staff and governors to take the school forward in the interests of the pupils."

Chair of governors Ceinwen Thomas said: "We are all very disappointed with the outcome of the report and we must give the staff, pupils and governors the support they need so that improvements can be made.

"We must build on the positive aspects highlighted by the inspectors, whilst also addressing the shortcomings as a matter of priority.

"The pupils are uppermost in our minds and I want to reassure parents we will give pupils the education and support they deserve and continue to develop a school that the whole community can be proud of."

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