New Ofsted criteria tougher than ever, warns headteacher

A HEADTEACHER says he fears other schools could lose their ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ Ofsted ratings after his was downgraded during a recent inspection.

Worle Community School is the first school in North Somerset to be assessed under new criteria from the education watchdog, which came into effect in January.

Following what headteacher Peter Binding called a ‘difficult’ inspection at the Redwing Drive site last week, it was rated as ‘satisfactory’, compared to last time when it was considered ‘good’.

Mr Binding said: “It was a very difficult and thorough process under the new criteria.

“Staff at other schools in Somerset and Devon have contacted me asking for advice and are very concerned about their outcome.”

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Ofsted inspectors said students at the school were ‘generally well behaved’ and added: “The school takes its responsibilities to promote equality and tackle discrimination seriously, the school provides a broad and balanced curriculum.”

But inspectors who observed 54 lessons and met with students, staff and governors, added in their report that ‘the school is not yet a good school because teachers do not always ensure pupils make as much progress as they could in lessons and senior staff do not monitor the quality of teaching well enough’.

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The report also says the quality of teaching at the school is ‘inconsistent’.

It added: “At its last inspection the school was judged as ‘good’ overall, but it has suffered a decline in recent years. Under the leadership of the current headteacher and senior staff the school’s capacity for improvement is improving.

“In some areas the quality of teaching has improved and the headteacher is rigorously tackling the weakest teaching.”

Mr Binding added: “This has been a very demanding time for the school and the inspection has confirmed that we are improving.

“Although disappointed in the final outcome, there are many areas that are good and will continue to flourish as we move forward.

“We are determined to ensure that the school is rightly viewed as at least a ‘good’ school and that the students’ aspirations are met.

“This is part of our journey to become an outstanding school and, even though the goal posts have been moved, we are determined to get there.”

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