The new headteacher of a controversial £30 million academy for 1,200 pupils in Warwickshire had left his former school in confusion, according to a damning Ofsted report.
Martin Cain left Frank F Harrison School in Walsall in January to become principal of a newly-created Nuneaton Academy on a six-figure salary.
But just weeks later a damning Ofsted report found serious weaknesses at his former high school and inspectors have placed it in to “special measures” – seen as a last resort for schools where there is little hope for improvement.
Councillors and parents who were already opposed to the academy, which will lead to the closure of two schools, said they had grave concerns and urged education bosses to think twice about whether Mr Cain was the right man to lead the new institution when it opens in September.
North Warwickshire and Hinckley College and Warwickshire County Council said they were aware of the report and were considering its implications.
The Ofsted report, which was published this week, said Frank F Harrison School is “failing to give its students an acceptable standard of education”.
It goes on to say that senior staff and governors “are not demonstrating the capacity to secure the necessary improvement”.
Inspectors said that lessons fail to motivate and engage pupils and weaknesses exist at all levels of management.
The critical report rates both the school and its capacity for improvement as “inadequate”.
A small amount of praise is reserved for “some good and outstanding” teaching despite the poor overall standard.
Interim head teacher Jacqui Grace is given credit for identifying problems and developing a plan to lead the school out of special measures.
She is also set to drop the specialist engineering college status and focus on maths and IT at the school.
After being made aware of the report by the Birmingham Post, county councillors and parents said they had “grave concerns” about Mr Cain’s appointment and would be demanding answers. “I will be voicing my concerns very strongly,” said Coun Sonja Wilson, a Tory councillor for Arbury and Stockingford, where Alderman Smith School will be one of two to close to create the academy.
“I opposed the academy from the start because I think in purely geographical terms, they are closing the wrong schools and this report adds to my worries.
“We will be asking the council whether they are certain that this appointment is the right one.”
Coun Bob Hicks, a Labour councillor for Nuneaton Abbey ward, added: “I wasn’t privy to the process of appointing this chap but it seems like he left his school in a timely manner. With the amount of money that is likely to be invested in the school, you would have expected that the staffing standard really needs to be spot on.
“I have to say that it is disconcerting news.”
Parents said they did not want to go on record because their children would have to attend the academy but one said she was worried by the fact that the Ofsted report at Frank F Harrison School was worse than both of those set to be incorporated into the new academy.
The Government has given approval for Alderman Smith and Manor Park schools on the western side of Nuneaton to be closed.
From September this year, Nuneaton Academy will operate from both sites before a state-of-the-art academy is built on the Alderman Smith School site in Radnor Drive, ready to open by 2013.
Bill Olner, Labour MP for Nuneaton, said he was concerned about creating an academy straight after both Manor Park and Alderman Smith had recorded vastly improved GCSE results.
The proportion of pupils who gained five A* to C grades jumped from 25 per cent in 2008 to 37 per cent last year at Manor Park and even further from 24 per cent to 39 per cent at Alderman Smith.
Only 27 per cent of pupils at Frank F Harrison School achieved the same exam success last year.
A joint statement from North Warwickshire and Hinckley College and Warwickshire County Council said: “The college, as sponsor, is considering with the county council the implications are – if any – for the Nuneaton Academy of the most recent Ofsted inspection report on The Frank F Harrison Engineering College.”
Mr Cain did not respond to a request for a statement.