A Pudsey headteacher says he is ‘bitterly disappointed’ after an Ofsted inspection said his school ‘required improvement’.
Co-Op Academy Priesthorpe principal Martin Blacoe criticised Ofsted inspectors who found the school ‘required improvement’ in four out of five areas following an inspection in March.
Ofsted published its report today, and Mr Blacoe spoke of his disappointment in a letter to parents:
“We firmly believe this is an unjust outcome. However, we must not, and will not, let this deviate us from what is a sustained journey of upward school improvement.
“We have fought long and hard, on a platform of strong principles, values and beliefs to reach this point and must continue to do so. We absolutely believe we are a ‘Good’ school.
“A team of four highly experienced inspectors, including a Lead Inspector who had led on over 70 inspections and never had a judgment overturned, gathered extensive evidence over two days and arrived at the same collective conclusion.
“The Co-op Academies Trust stands shoulder to shoulder with us as an Academy, in the resolute belief that Ofsted have misjudged Priesthorpe.”
The report, which can be read in full here, is critical of students’ behaviour at the school, saying:
“Pupils have very mixed views about behaviour. Some pupils say behaviour is improving. However, other pupils told inspectors that disruption still occurs, and this has an impact on how well they can learn.
“Younger pupils, at times, feel intimidated by older pupils. Fixed-term exclusions are below the national average. However, a number of exclusions are for violent behaviour. The area that the school uses to remove pupils from lessons is not appropriate.”
The report adds that the quality of curriculum planning is variable. While praising planning in mathematics and science, inspectors found pupils did not achieve as well as they should in some subjects. The report adds:
“Teachers’ expectations of what pupils can achieve are not high enough across the curriculum.”
There’s also criticism of governors. The report says they ‘accept too readily’ what leaders tell them about the quality of education and pupils’ behaviour.
Mr Blacoe said inspectors had informed him on day two of the inspection that the overall effectiveness of Priesthorpe was ‘Good’. He then received a letter on 1 May which said that, following ‘enhanced quality assurance’, gradings provided at the end of our inspection had been changed.
In four of the five areas of the framework, the school’s grades had been reduced from ‘Good’ to ‘Requires Improvement’.
Co-op Academies Trust chief executive Chris Tomlinson, added:
“It goes without saying that we have an absolute belief that Priesthorpe is a good school and, like the Principal, senior leaders and governors, we are hugely disappointed with the final inspection outcome and how it has materialised.
“It is vital that we do not let this impact the hard work that goes on every day in the Academy and that, with staff, governors, students and parents, we will work tirelessly to prove that this is a Good school which will carry on improving.”
This was the first inspection since the school became an academy in July
2017. The visit was carried out by a team of five inspectors.
The school is part of The Co-operative Academies Trust.