A free school in Kirklees which was backed by Prime Minister David Cameron and former Education Secretary Michael Gove faces ‘special measures.’

The BBG Academy, which has 600 students aged 11 to 15, was set up by a group of parents opposed to the closure of what was then Birkenshaw Middle School.

Kirklees Council wanted to scrap the middle school system but a bid by the Birkenshaw, Birstall and Gomersal Parents Alliance to open a new school was rejected in 2010 by Labour’s then Children’s Secretary Ed Balls.

In the run-up to the last General Election, Tory leader Mr Cameron and education spokesman Mr Gove both gave their support.

Mr Cameron attended a rally during the 2010 General Election campaign and signed a pledge backing the parents.

Prime Minister David Cameron (centre) - then Conservative leader - with Kirklees Tory leader Clr Robert Light (left) and Clr Light's wife Sharon, now chairman of governors at BBG (right, dark green t-shirt) on a march in support for a free school before the General Election in 2010.
 

The school became an academy and moved outside council control.

Now an inspection by education watchdog Ofsted has resulted in an “inadequate” rating.

Inspectors who visited in October said it was failing to give pupils an “acceptable standard of education” and had not tackled poor behaviour by some students. It called for the school to “urgently improve” and recommended special measures.

The school’s problems are said to be linked to its rapid expansion. Half its teaching staff only joined three months ago.

Mrs Sharon Light, chairman of governors and wife of Kirklees Council Tory leader Robert Light, said action was already being taken.

She said the academy planned to join the Rodillian Multi-Academy Trust, which runs the Rodillian Academy, one of the best performing secondary schools in Leeds.

Senior leaders from Rodillian were already working full time at BBG and Mrs Light expected rapid improvement.

Kirklees Council’s Cabinet member for schools Clr Shabir Pandor said he was concerned for the education of the students involved.

“Because BBG is a free school it is in charge of its own destiny but it is still in Kirklees and my door is always open,” he said.

“Rather than go to Rodillian school I would have liked them to talk to me. It’s a Kirklees issue and we could have given them all the help and support they need.

“The Ofsted report raises some very serious issues and the key thing is that a plan is put in place to tackle the problems.”