Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 29 November 2014

Crumlin Integrated College: once struggling school makes grade

6/6/2012 Crumlin Integrated College ProtestPupils , Past Pupils and Parents Protest outside Crumlin Integrated College in Co Antrim as Dr Annabel Scott, returns to the school after previously being  removed from the school following the publication of a hard-hitting Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI) report
6/6/2012 Crumlin Integrated College ProtestPupils , Past Pupils and Parents Protest outside Crumlin Integrated College in Co Antrim as Dr Annabel Scott, returns to the school after previously being removed from the school following the publication of a hard-hitting Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI) report

A troubled school that has been in an improvement programme for three years has finally turned the corner.

A toubled school that has been in an improvement programme for three years has finally turned the corner.

Crumlin Integrated College made headlines after a series of damning reports, parent protests and its principal Dr Annabel Scott received a death threat.

But almost three-and-a-half years after inspectors rated it as “unsatisfactory” — the lowest grading a school can receive from the Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI) — provision at the school has been found to be satisfactory.

It means the school, which has been slated for its academic achievement, falling pupil numbers, leadership and ethos, has now improved two performance levels.

A follow-up inspection said: “A considerable number of improvements have taken place since the time of the original inspection in January 2010.”

Those include:

  •  A considerable improvement in GCSE standards with the percentage of pupils attaining five or more GCSEs at grades A*-C rising from 39% to 52%.
  • Integration values are evident in the very positive school ethos.
  • The pupil-centred focus and the mutually respectful working relationships.
  • The quality of teaching has improved significantly.
  • Very good progress has been made in developing pupils’ personal and social skills.
  • The good quality of the care, guidance and support provided to pupils.

Vice-principal Philip Smyth commented: “I am delighted with the outcome. I believe parents can now have renewed confidence in the education we are providing for the young people in our care.”

However, ETI has recommended improvement is needed in teaching and a review of curriculum provision, class sizes and staffing at key stage four.

The college’s future still hangs in the balance as the Board has two options under consideration, including it becoming a shared management school in collaboration with the Catholic Council for Maintained Schools, or closure from August 2014.

Story so far

An inspection in January 2010 evaluated the quality of the provision as unsatisfactory. The school entered the Department of Education’s formal intervention process in February 2010.

A follow-up inspection in November 2011 rated the school as inadequate. In June 2012 parents staged a protest against the return of principal Dr Annabel Scott.

Two months later she received a death threat and has not returned. The school is currently being led by vice-principal Philip Smyth.

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