Kinsley Academy may officially be less than three years old, but its redbrick buildings stand as a reminder that there has been a primary school here, serving this rural, former mining community in West Yorkshire, for well over 100 years. Jade Garfitt didn’t hesitate to send her son, aged five, to the school: Kinsley born and bred, she felt she’d got an excellent education there herself.
But since he started she has become increasingly concerned. “He’s received one piece of homework this academic year,” she tells me over a cup of tea in the community cafe across the road. “He’s only done PE once since November. At one point, his class went two weeks without having their reading books changed. If you tried to say, ‘Look, there’s issues here’, you’d be shooed away.”
She says her son was for months taught by a revolving door of supply teachers. “They never introduced themselves. We never knew their name. The children were really unsettled, crying, not wanting to go to school.”