A mixed review for Calder High School
Calder High School in Mytholmroyd “requires improvement” but is no longer “inadequate”, according to an Ofsted report.
Ofsted inspectors visited the school last month and their findings show that “too many students do not achieve to their potential”.
“The most able students are not sufficiently challenged to enable them to achieve well and excel” and “there remain significant achievement gaps between different groups of students (students eligible for free school meals and boys aren’t making the progress they should be)”.
They also found that too much teaching lacked sufficient planning, variety and challenge and there was too much variability in the quality of feedback to students.
The report was also full of praise for the school which was given a “notice to improve” when concerns were raised about pupil behaviour last year.
Ofsted’s latest findings show that “the new senior leadership have made an immediate and significant impact on creating a much better-focused and cohesive school community”, “senior leaders and improving middle management are now better placed to accelerate improvement” and “new and more effective systems for tracking and monitoring student progress have been introduced”.
They also found there was a foundation of outstanding teaching within the school, behaviour and attendance had improved, with few lesson disrupted by poor behaviour, and the school was improving with increased staff accountability.
Some of the reasons for the improvement were put down to student council members feeling a greater sense of responsibility and trust conferred on them and were more actively involved in ways to improve the school, while sixth formers were acting as mentors to younger students.
The new leadership is perceived to have brought a sense of purpose to school life and a Parental Engagement At Calder High group has improved engagement between parents at the school.
Attendance is now around the national average, bullying isn’t seen as a significant issue and students feel safe.
In a joint statement Calder High School Executive Head teacher Jeanne Watson and Interim Head teacher Mark Leicester said: “We are extremely pleased with the report which gives a fair and accurate picture of the school’s journey since September.
“The whole school community has pulled together, morale is high and we are confident that we can act quickly on the areas for improvement.”
In order for the school to improve futher, inspectors have recommended that it improves the quality of teaching so that a greater proportion is at least “good”. In order to do this it says the school should improve lesson planning to enable all lessons to best meet the needs of all students, and ensurr that tasks are challenging and engage students; ensure that student tracking data is used in all lessons to inform planning; provide greater opportunities for students to develop their independent learning skills; use questioning more effectively to challenge and engage students so that they have opportunities to develop their reasoning, spoken language and extend their thinking; promote the sharing of the best practice so that all may aspire to good or better teaching; and ensure that feedback and marking informs and supports students in their next steps in learning.
Ofsted has also recomended that the school continues to raise and accelerate achievement by: ensuring that the momentum for improvement in mathematics and English is accelerated: embedding high aspirations for students across all subjects and classes; closing the gaps in achievement between different groups of students and especially those known to be eligible for free school meals and boys; and improving teaching in weaker performing classes and subjects in order to achieve better outcomes for students.
The school has also been told to ensure that systems to improve teaching and learning and the promotion of best practice are embedded at a middle management and classroom level, and to make sure that any inconsistencies in the application of school procedures, systems and approach to the improvement of provision are swiftly identified and tackled.
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Wednesday 19 June 2013
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