COUNCILLORS are urgently organising meetings with Portland’s troubled academy following reports that dozens of students have left to join Weymouth schools. 

Speaking at Portland Town Council, Cllr Paul Kimber said 160 students have left the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy (IPACA) to go to schools in Weymouth.

Dorset County Council said the ‘current net loss of learners this school year was 39’ but was unable to say how many in total had left for other schools.

The council said the current ‘learner population’ was 981 but were again unable to confirm the total student capacity of the school.

Speaking after the town council meeting, Cllr Kimber said: “What Kate and I are trying to do is to meet with county council officials and try to get a much better relationship between the county and the school.

“What the council has done is brought in two very specialist teachers to help lift the school.

“Obviously Kate and I were absolutely blown over by the level of redundancies and again, this was very worrying for us.

“What we intend to try and do is to have a meeting with the acting head and see what we can do to build up the relationship between the community and the school.

“We have already seen a number of young students that have left the school and go over to Weymouth schools. 

“The most important thing is to make sure that the school succeeds and that we produce the best students that we physically can.”

One parent said: “The simple truth is that the children have been failed and many more parents want out.

"However, All Saints and Budmouth are oversubscribed so there is nowhere to go. The people who created this mess should be ashamed of themselves and stop blaming the parents, the media and just about everyone except themselves.”

Kevin Broadway, headteacher at All Saints School in Weymouth said the secondary schools in the area are doing all they can to ensure students a good education.

He said: “We have experienced an increase in the number of Portland pupils over the past year. Similarly, some of our pupils have also left us to join IPACA. 

“Teachers, governors and parents in Weymouth and Portland care passionately about our schools and will do all we can to ensure we have four thriving secondary schools.”

Dorset Echo:

THE recent and sudden departure of headteacher Joss Hayes came a month after the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy (IPACA) was put into special measures following a damning Ofsted report which rated it ‘inadequate’ across every measure.

Gary Spracklen has now been appointed as acting head of the academy.

As reported IPACA has also launched a consultation process over staffing as the troubled organisation looks to make savings of £1.7m - which equates to 45 full time posts at the school. 

A spokesman for Dorset County Council said that the school is consulting on proposals to find savings of £1.7m in staff costs, which equates to 45 full time equivalent posts, but it does not mean 45 members of staff will be made redundant.

An IPACA spokesperson said: “The academy is continuing to work with the Regional Schools Commissioner, Department for Education and Dorset County Council to identify a new multi-academy trust.”