Ofsted puts school in special measures
ST Joseph’s Catholic College has been placed in special measures after Ofsted inspectors judged it inadequate in three of four main areas at an inspection.
The school was rated outstanding after its previous inspection, in 2008, and had since converted to academy status in 2011.
The damning report criticised standards of teaching, improper use of pupil premium funds and a lack of management from senior teachers and the governing body.
The report said: “Most students who join the college in Year 7 have achieved above-average standards in their primary schools.
“Standards do not improve by the time they leave Year 11. GCSE examination results remain low in comparison with the national averages.”
The school will now be monitored by Ofsted and new principal Paul Hughes, appointed this month after the retirement of Maureen Harries in March, is determined to raise standards.
The report, based on an inspection in July, said pupils who received funding from the pupil premium, “progress and attainment is significantly below the national average”.
With an above average number of students from ethnic minority groups, the report states teachers in the school “do not have high enough expectations of what students who speak English as an additional language can do”.
Inexperienced teaching staff came in for particular criticism, as ‘inspectors strongly recommend that the college should not appoint newly qualified teachers’.
He said in August the school posted its best ever GCSE results, with 82 per cent of pupils achieving at least 5 A* to C grades, an increase of 24 per cent on 2012.
He added: “I do not think the results take away from the report, but it does show progress is being made.
“The framework for inspections has changed massively. The bar has been raised, which is right and proper.
“To parents I would say, do not judge us completely on the basis of the report. I would ask them to ask their children what their experience of the school is.
“We are going to have a forum for parents to come in and discuss the report with us. We want to be as open and honest as possible.”
The report says of the pupil premium, additional funding given to schools to support disadvantaged pupils: “The college has used the pupil premium funding in a variety of ways, including subsidising the purchase of text books and educational equipment, as well as assistance with the costs of curriculum trips and activities.
“However, the college does not have an accurate view of the impact of these actions and resources on the achievement of those students whose circumstances might put them at risk of underachieving.
This is not good enough because standards remain low for these students.”
Mr Hughes said: “We are reviewing how we use the pupil premium, and will be publishing exactly how it is being spent.
“We are putting in performance management arrangements for all staff and introducing a far more robust method of examination. We will have senior teachers and external consultants in lessons far more often.”
He said the school will also have other help.“We have also made a connection with a school in London which is performing very well, and will draw on them for some quality assurance,” he said.
“We will be subject to scrutiny by HMI and Ofsted, who will be visiting again in six months time. We can’t just say what we are doing, it has to be shown that it is having an impact.”
Read the full report here.
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