OFSTED has returned to the Herd Lane school, which they placed in special measures in January, and have continued to make a number of withering criticisms. It is bad enough for a school to go into special measures but it is quite rare for Ofsted to go back to a school and deliver quite such a damning report. It is as if they have flung back the school’s and the council’s action plan as “Not fit for purpose.” It also makes quite a statement on the salaries of the staff.
The report may show why the leader of the council, cllr John Kent has taken on the education portfolio.
The report makes the following criticisms:
The lack of clarity about senior teachers’ roles and responsibilities, and the unwieldy nature of the extended leadership team, mean that this large leadership team is having little impact on improving the quality of teaching. Leaders lack clear direction and as a result, staff morale is low.
The action plan, like the local authority’s plan, fails to tackle the required improvements to leadership and management effectively.
Without a fundamental review of leadership roles, responsibilities and accountability at all levels, it will be extremely difficult for the school to make the rapid improvements necessary.
The Local Education Authority
“The local authority’s statement for action states clearly what the school needs to do to improve further, but some of the time scales are too ambitious and there is already slippage.
“The plan fails to state clearly enough how the local authority intends to conduct a review of leadership and management at all levels to provide a baseline from which to improve the capacity of leaders and managers.”
“The local authority statement of action is not fit for purpose.
“It is clear that the actions you have taken to date to improve the quality of teaching have not had sufficient impact to improve pupils’ progress.
“The school’s action plan is not fit for purpose.
Over half the teaching staff are paid on higher level salary scales, but pupils’ achievement indicates that the school is not getting value for money or rewarding staff in line with the guidance in the national Teachers’ Standards document.
“Since the inspection in January, the local authority has acted swiftly to replace the governing body of the school with an Interim Executive Board (IEB). The IEB has held one meeting to date, but is planning to meet twice a month in the short term to hold the school to account and to drive the necessary improvement.
It is clear about its responsibility to bring about rapid school improvement, particularly to improve the quality of leadership and management of the school. However, as the board is new, its impact is minimal.”
YT will be seeking reaction from the main political leaders as well as the new education Tsar in the borough, Christine Gilbert.