Educating Greater Manchester is back on our screens with a new series that was actually filmed back in 2018.
The documentary follows the lives of the teachers and students at Harrop Fold School in Salford, Greater Manchester, marking the second time that Channel 4's award-winning Educating... series has returned to the same school.
But production on the series wasn't as straightforward as before due to a story that broke after filming finished in July 2018, which left Channel 4 unsure whether the series would actually air.
It's hinted at in the opening moments of the first episode as it's stated: "Harrop Fold School is now under different leadership. This brand new series of Educating was filmed prior to that in 2018."
We then heard then-headteacher Drew Povey say that they had "really high hopes" for the year ahead, before "it all went quite badly wrong" as Povey and three other members of staff found themselves suspended.
At the time of the suspension, the reasons for Povey's suspension were confidential, but he had called it "completely and utterly unfair", resolving to "clear my name and the name of the school".
However, Povey announced his resignation as headteacher of Harrop Fold in September 2018 and revealed that the school had been accused of "deliberately 'off-rolling' students and coding attendance incorrectly".
According to Ofsted, "Off-rolling is the practice of removing a pupil from the school roll without a formal, permanent exclusion or by encouraging a parent to remove their child from the school roll, when the removal is primarily in the interests of the school rather than in the best interests of the pupil."
Povey took full responsibility for the "errors" that saw two or three students incorrectly coded as "off-roll" in the previous three years, but said that it had a "negligible" impact on exam results.
He resigned to avoid "further damage to be caused" to the reputation of the school as a result of the investigation, as well as offering to work "pro-bono" to support the school over the coming year.
Harrop Fold was placed into special measures in October 2018 with Ofsted finding that "the school is failing its pupils", as well as "considerable uncertainty concerning its leadership".
In November 2019, Ofsted told new headteacher Claire Wright that the new regime was "taking effective action towards the removal of special measures".
"The school's new leadership is making great improvements and progress as the latest Ofsted report shows," Salford's deputy city mayor, Councillor John Merry, told TES, adding that the investigation had reached a conclusion, but declined to reveal it.
It's unclear how much of the behind-the-scenes troubles will make it into the new series of Educating Greater Manchester, although it will likely feature new interviews with Povey about his suspension and the decision behind his resignation.
"Now there is enough clarity for us to be able to broadcast the series," a Channel 4 spokesperson told TES. "These programmes filmed in 2018 are accurate and fair. At the time of filming and the subsequent events, there were too many uncertainties."
Following his resignation, Povey set up a consultancy business.
Educating Greater Manchester airs on Channel 4.
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