Head defiant after Ofsted blow

Issue 582

A HEADTEACHER is drawing up an action plan after his Mirfield school was criticised by inspectors.

Andy Pugh, of the Castle Hall Academy, assured parents that action will be taken following an unfavourable Ofsted verdict.

The 11 to 16 secondary, on Richard Thorpe Avenue, requires improvement under tough new guidelines.

Castle Hall, which was saved from closure in 2010, was rated satisfactory when last inspected two years ago.

But since then that grade has been axed and any school not ranked as ‘good’ is now classed as needing improvement.

Complicating matters is Castle Hall achieving academy status in September 2011, which means Ofsted regarded it as a new school.

Problems found include variable teaching, leading to lower than expected achievement, particularly in science.

Marking and feedback to pupils can be poor while the behaviour of some children is allowed to disrupt certain lessons.

But a number of strengths were also found, including:

• Achievement in some subjects, particularly Maths, is good;

• Pupils feel safe and have high self-esteem;

• Recent changes made by school leaders are having a positive effect.

Ofsted’s report, published last week, shows mixed sex Castle Hall has many more boys than girls.

The number of children who speak English as a second language is well above average, while those eligible for the pupil premium is about average.

In a letter to parents Mr Pugh said: “A new inspection framework...has certainly raised the bar on what is expected from schools.

“Inspectors have judged that we require improvement. Consistency has been the key word in their findings.

“Staff and governors are disappointed with this report but nevertheless accept the judgement.

“We want to show everyone – yourselves, your children and the whole community – that Castle Hall is outstanding in every respect.

“With this in mind, we are drawing up an action plan to take the necessary steps to prove this in the shortest possible timescale.”

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