Back on Track


Oldknow Academy Undergoes Overhaul After Trojan Horse Controversy

Oldknow Academy will close for the first two weeks of term in September due to last minute changes for their new makeover, following the Trojan Horse Scandal. The Small Heath school was placed into special measures in April 2014 and is now undergoing an immediate turnaround, plans include:

  • The school’s name will change
  • Pupils will get receive uniforms for free
  • Every child will get a home visit
  • Two weeks’ teacher training
  • An Executive Principal takes over

Then head teacher, Bhupinder Kondal, quit the school after claiming she was undermined and over-ruled by a group attempting to introduce strict Islamic guidelines into the school. Although she returned after the board of trustees was replaced, Ofsted announced the school was not improving enough and Ms. Kondal had, “struggled to get the academy back on track”.

The academy has now been taken over by the ARK chain of academies, who already run four schools. Rebecca Garratt, who will become executive principal of Oldknow, explains the plans to close the school in the first two weeks of September term.

“We haven’t got time to waste,” she said, “We’ve got to make up a lot of time for the kids because they have been let down in the past.

“Losing the first two weeks of term means we can reap the benefits later.

“There’s no point being sat in an office for two weeks talking about changes – we need to be in the classrooms with the teachers, training them and implementing the changes.”

She claims the name change and new uniforms will be an attempt to move on from the school’s troubled past. Ms Garratt, who is head at ARK Tindal Primary Academy in Balsall Heath, said the two schools will work closely together.

“We’ve already invited teachers from Oldknow over for afternoon tea to get to know each other,” she said. “There is a lot of hard work ahead but it is an exciting and challenging time.”

Ms Garrat was responsible for turning ARK Tindal from being ‘satisfactory’ in May 2010, when it was the former Tindal Junior & Infant School, to ‘good’ with ‘outstanding’ features in October 2014.


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