Stoke Gifford school to join BSCS academy trust

Abbeywood Community School, Stoke Gifford, Bristol

Stoke Gifford’s Abbeywood Community School, recently put into ‘special measures’ by Ofsted, looks set to become an academy within the same trust that has operated Bradley Stoke Community School (BSCS) since the beginning of the year.

Dave Baker, headteacher at BSCS, has been running Abbeywood since Ann Duff, the previous head, left suddenly in October last year. Since taking the helm, Mr Baker has introduced a “get tough” policy in an effort to improve discipline at the troubled school, which had previously received a ‘notice to improve’ from Ofsted following an inspection in October 2010.

Ofsted inspectors visited Abbeywood again in December last year and concluded in their report that the school was “failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education”.

The Secretary of State for Education has powers to force any school placed into ‘special measures’ to become an academy but the Abbeywood governors have pre-empted any such act of compulsion by voting unanimously to:

“… seek the Secretary of State’s support and approval for the conversion of Abbeywood Community School to academy status under the leadership and sponsorship of The Olympus Academy Trust which runs Bradley Stoke Community School.”

Subject to the minister’s approval of the proposed conversion, a full consultation process will be carried out by the school.

The governors also revealed their desire for Mr Baker to continue his role at Abbeywood by adding:

“This will ensure that the improvement work which has already started under Dave Baker’s executive leadership, and which was acknowledged in the inspection report, can continue beyond this academic year.”

“There will be significant benefits for both schools and the local community in working together in this way, not least in maintaining the integrity of post 16 provision within the Concorde Partnership.”

With Mr Baker spending a lot of time over in Stoke Gifford, governors at BSCS decided in November last year to shift former Deputy Headteacher Jenny Sutton Kirby into a new ‘Associate Headteacher’ role to “ensure that there is clear leadership in the school on a day-to-day basis”.

Prior to being put into ‘special measures’, Abbeywood had said it wasn’t interested in joining a proposed academy partnership with BSCS, Patchway Community College and Brimsham Green School.

The Patchway and Brimsham Green schools eventually dropped out leaving BSCS to go it alone and convert to an academy in “a federation of one” on 1st January 2012.

Share this page:


  1. I find this most suprising as I attended a parent / govenor consultation evening approximately 18 months ago when the school was consulting with Patchway Community College and Brimsham Green. At this meeting we were split into groups of 4 or 5 parents with a govenor and I asked whether Abbeywood was a consideration. I was told there was no chance at all of them even being considered, when I asked if this was because of their poor ofsted reports I was told it was.

    What has changed?

    If Dave Baker feels he can make a real difference, good luck but go and become their head as I fear that our school could be dragged down as any good teachers could be transfered from our school to theirs. All I can see BSCS getting is the badly behaved pupils in return (they allegedly sent some of these pupils to BSCS while Ofsted were visiting) and Dave Baker getting a big pay rise !!

  2. I agree with Simon. My biggest concern is that the pupils of the excellent BSCS will be dragged down by Abbeywood, rather than the pupils of Abbeywood raising their game. I just hope Mr Baker doesn’t compromise BSCS in attempting to rescue Abbeywood.

  3. The system will work. BSCS will not tolerate low achievers, they will just farm them out to referral units or expel them, this is how they keep their marks so high! I know this from experience, and in the last few years from working in education myself this is becoming more and more common.

  4. @ expereinced parent

    If it is as easy as you say it is and I am not doubting your experience, why do Abbeywood need to join with BSCS to do this?

  5. @ Simon says

    The key thing to recognise is that last November Dave Baker was working for the LA, not the new Academy Trust. He had no option, nor did BSCS in agreeing to this arrangement as they did not become an Academy until January 1st.
    Once BSCS became an Academy in January, the LA and Secretary of State then had a route to direct Abbeywood (as a school in special measures) to associate with an Academy, and BSCS was the obvious choice.
    It could be argued that this was part of the LA’s plan to salve their conscience as they had allowed Abbeywood to fail for so long, but be assured BSCS did not push for this to happen.
    I am sure that Dave Baker and his team will work very hard to gain significant improvement at Abbeywood whilst continuing to make progress at BSCS.


  6. As a parent with 2 children at BSCS,,, I now feel it is going down hill as Mr Baker is spending most of his time at Abbeywood,,, Because of this and other reasons i will now remove my children from bscs and put them in better schools where there head teacher is committed to 1 school.
    As soon as Mr Baker was started acting head at abbeywood…i said to my children, it’s so mr baker can merge both schools together,,,, how right was i.

  7. I also have 2 children at BSCS, we are planning to move my children to Castle. Without Mr. Baker around, my children found lack of organise, lack of comminication. They both not happy at all.

  8. glad i got both my kids into the riding’s,both doing superb,has the gloss finally rubbed of the must get in to Bradley stoke school???

  9. I agree with the above posts, I had hoped that with the move to academy status the management would finally spend some time on improving the slipping standards at BCSC, from recent parent meetings it is clear that the teachers need greater guidance and leadership… this alas will not happen, and don’t even start me on the multi centre A-level roundabout. Clear leadership from a Headmaster who cares about the kids in HIS/ HER school, and an end to multiple bus journeys for a single days schooling..

Comments are closed.