‘Inadequate’ rating for Catholic academy

‘Inadequate’ rating  for Catholic academy

PUPILS at a Dewsbury high school were so disruptive in a lesson that an inspector had to call on a senior leader for help.

Ofsted officials visited St John Fisher Academy last year, concluding the school was “inadequate” in all but two areas.

The damning report said: “In one lesson observed, an inspector had to call for a senior leader as disruption had become so bad.”

The Oxford Road school needs to “urgently improve the quality of teaching, learning and assessment to ensure rapid improvements in the progress and attainment of all pupils – especially disadvantaged pupils so that they achieve in line with, or above, national expectations”.

The report also said there had been ineffective leadership since the school converted to an academy in 2014. It has 1,169 pupils aged between 11 and 19 on roll. 

It was reported that the teaching of English was weak, as was geography, but mathematics and history were improving.

A new headteacher has since been appointed, and the report said that he has “quickly and accurately evaluated the school’s strengths and weaknesses”.

Jim Taylor was given the job permanently on January 1 and is keen to sort out the school’s problems. Mr Taylor said: “St John Fisher has set out a clear plan for rapid improvement after the school was recently judged to require significant improvement by Ofsted.

“The issues in the school concerned the need to improve the quality of teaching, learning and assessment to enable stronger pupil progress. Following the Ofsted inspection, the Blessed Peter Snow Trust (the academy’s trust) board has taken immediate action.

“The academy council overseeing the school has been replaced by a trust intervention board. Members of the new board are experienced school governors with specialist knowledge of school improvement.

“Together, the new headteacher and trust intervention board will drive rapid and significant improvements in teaching and learning and outcomes for pupils.”

Edwin Kirkwood, the new chairman of the board, added: “The outcome of the inspection was extremely disappointing but the issues are already being addressed by the new leadership team and the trust is confident that the academy now has effective systems in place.”

Mr Taylor has since re-shuffled his leadership team in the hope of improving standards.

He said: “The recent changes to accountabilities and systems mentioned in the report are becoming embedded and are already having a positive impact.

“A meeting for parents to discuss the Ofsted report was held this week and all are determined to return the school to its previous judgement of Good as soon as possible.”

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