QUESTIONS have been raised over the decision by governors at St Gregory’s High School to hire an executive head teacher who had previously worked at a failing school in Sheffield.
Parents were shocked to discover in February that the school on Cromwell Avenue in Westbrook had been rated by Ofsted inspectors as ‘inadequate’ following an inspection in December.
But the Warrington Guardian can reveal that this is not the first time David Lewis has been told by Ofsted to rapidly improve at a school he is in charge of.
Mr Lewis, who was appointed executive head teacher of both St Gregory’s High School and Cardinal Newman High School in April, was identified as the principal of Sheffield Springs Academy by Ofsted.
The report, which was published following an inspection in May 2009, criticised the school for ‘inadequate’ teaching and lines of accountability were described as ‘insufficiently robust’ with the school consequently handed a notice to improve.
The report read: “Over the last year, there has been a loss of impetus stemming from a lack of strategic leadership and the failure to focus on tackling key weaknesses.”
Mr Lewis, who was executive director of United Learning - the trust in charge of Sheffield Springs Academy - from May 2006 to June 2009, was slammed in the report for failing to ensure ‘the senior leadership team works with a unified sense of purpose’.
Despite experiencing two damning Ofsted reports while in charge of two different schools, Mr Lewis has received positive feedback from Estyn, the education and training inspectorate for Wales, following an inspection of Blessed Edward Jones High School in Rhyl during his headship.
The school was rated as good - the second highest rating available to inspectors - following an inspection in October 2012.
Mr Lewis, who worked at the school from July 2011 to March 2013, was praised for bringing ‘significant improvements to many aspects of the school, in a relatively short period of time’.
He was also applauded for transforming a once failing school into an outstanding one during his headship at St Wilfrid's Catholic High School and Sixth Form College in Wakefield from September 1998 to April 2006.
Chairman of governors, Margaret Heelam, said: “We were fully aware of Mr Lewis’ full employment history and the governors were absolutely satisfied by the glowing references received from Mr Lewis’ previous school.”
Mr Lewis added: “Following a rigorous and thorough appointment process I was honoured to accept the post of executive head teacher and was delighted to be supported by the governors, who were clearly satisfied by my track record.”