Marshalls Park Academy: a Critique


Marshalls Park is an average academy in Havering,* which is why it was chosen for this critique. This is intended to be constructive criticism, contributing towards a reorientation from the merely peripheral to substantive educational issues.


On the academy’s website, the Headteacher in his 18th September, 2020 blog remarks that, “….it’s that schools are under constantly [sic] scrutiny by the whole community and that just magnifies the pressure.”** It isn’t “community….pressure” calling for transparency about GCSE results, it’s a perfectly normal expectation. The presentation of the 2019 GCSE results was opaque. Let’s take the top line:-

Subject ……………….9-4…………….9-5……………..9-7

English Language 68.26%……….52.10%……….7.19%

There’s no explanatory note explaining grade boundaries. Grade 9 is an outstanding result. Grade 4 is a bare ‘pass’ with a three grades beneath them: Grades 1-3. The results don’t show the 31.74% of the 2019 cohort sitting English Language who achieved grades 1-3. It’s as if a third of the school is invisible and unwelcome because they’ve failed the school. The students might say that they have been failed by the school of course.

The Headteacher sings from a different hymn sheet. His 2nd October, 2020 blog focuses on the new Barnes building. The site manager is warmly praised despite the building being delivered late. Astonishingly, the teaching staff’s unique role in 2020 is ignored, as is the implementation of a new system of teaching and learning. The staff’s stellar efforts maintaining progress through the lockdown is taken for granted.

A Headteacher’s blogs are an important mechanism for setting the tone of an academy. The priorities embedded within blogs guide the expectations of the reader. Both of this term’s blogs are unfortunate. They go a long way towards showing why there’s systemic weakness in Havering’s academies. Only sharply focused senior management teams, who aren’t in denial about their GCSE results, will break out of mediocrity. Parents and the wider community are entitled to know in detail the outcomes of GCSE results. They should not be concealed or underplayed on school websites.


* See


*** See my The government changed their position on GCSE results when they fully appreciated that grades were being awarded on the historic outcomes of the school not the individual student. There were massive disparities between teacher assessments and the standardisation principles embedded in the original documents. See also


The GCSE results for 2019 at Marshalls Park academy. As of 6th October 2020 these 2019 results were still being described as ‘provisional’ fourteen months after being announced.They missed the announced date of April 2020 by six months.

For other key metrics 2017-8 see These statistics are the most recent published.

2 thoughts on “Marshalls Park Academy: a Critique

  1. Chris,

    Thank you for keeping the fire ‘burning’ on these school exam results issues in Havering and highlighting the lack of ‘scrutiny’ by Havering Councillors’ on these issues.

    As a school governor myself at Corbets Tey School, I attend the Chair’s and Vice Chair’s meetings regularly, which are organised termly by Havering Governor Services. I managed earlier in the year (just prior to this Covid business taking hold) to get the agreement of the last meeting to invite the Cabinet member for Children & Learning AND the Chair of the Children & Learning Overview & Scrutiny Committee to attend our autumn meeting, to present their purpose in life and take questions.

    Sadly, during this recent period, there has been no news coming from Havering Governor Services about this meeting taking place even ‘virtually’. But, if it ever does happen, I have been making notes from all of your blogs on the subject of GCSE & A level results in Havering so will have plenty of ‘ammunition’, with a hope that they may have some answers.



    1. Thank you for your comment

      No cabinet member has ever attended any Overview and Scrutiny committee. Those committees are just window dressing serving no purpose beyond being a source of allowances.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s