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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Ofsted inspectors pleased with good progress made by school

A SCHOOL that was deemed inadequate earlier this year has made good progress say Ofsted inspectors.

CESMITHBENED
Progress: Head teacher Ian Smith

St Benedict’s School was placed in special measures in February after inspectors visited the school and ruled it had failed in every aspect.

Inspectors recently revisited the school and concluded that it is now making good progress.

All of the areas covered in the monitoring report – including quality of teaching, leadership and management and the achievement of pupils – have been improved.

Executive head teacher, Ian Smith, said: “It’s a team effort with everyone playing a part, teachers and associate staff alike. It is however, tremendous to see the work of the teaching staff being described as highly creative leading to rapid learning progress. I am really pleased that the overall judgement of the inspection team shows that the school is making good progress in all areas requiring improvement.”

The latest report shows that achievement is rising, results in the sixth form are improving and the school is placing a strong focus on improving students’ literacy skills. It also states that teaching has improved across all subjects and that the leaders of the school have high expectations.

In recent months the school has relied on external support provided by the National College for School Leadership (NCSL) and Millom School. However, Mr Smith said the high levels of intervention and support are lessening as the new senior leadership team and revived governing body take on more responsibility for the school.

He said: “I’m really pleased that the report points to the work of St Benedict’s senior team; the consistently high expectation they exhibit daily has rubbed off on everyone.”

The report states improvements in teaching, learning and behaviour, staff and students are enjoying success and their high morale is evident throughout the school.

Mr Smith said: “Special measures puts extraordinary stress on a school and those working and learning there. It’s inevitable that a lot of change takes place and sometimes difficult decisions have to be made, I agree that morale is high and that the school is moving forward very rapidly and very strongly.”

He added: “I’m grateful for the opportunity of working at St Benedict’s as well as Millom School. The governors at both schools and the local authority in conjunction with the NCSL have all played a significant part in a good example of school to school support at its best. The partnership arrangement will continue for the foreseeable future so as to ensure that progress is not only maintained but sustained.”

Inspectors said 60 per cent of students attained five or more GCSE qualifications including English and mathematics, at grades A* to C in this year’s exams. This is an improvement on last year, however, progress rates remained below the national level.

Inspectors said improvements are being made to Key Stage 3 and 4 Science, although more work can be done to raise achievement levels.

Students, teachers and senior leaders say that behaviour has improved in lessons and around the school.

The report said the school’s new rewards system motivates students well and encourages them to work hard. More work is also being done with the School Council.

Inspectors say the school has done a lot of work to raise students’ awareness of the nature and impact of different forms of bullying, including cyber-bullying, racism and homophobia.

Staff are working closely with the governing body and pupils to ensure that improvements are made. A full review of the curriculum is also underway.

Chair of governors Willie Slavin said: “It was almost inconceivable six months ago when I took on the role of chair of governors that the school would have made such remarkable, albeit hard-won, progress in such a relatively short period of time. Success thus far is a great tribute to Ian Smith and his leadership of a dedicated and committed team. I am confident that progress will continue to be maintained.

“The partnership with Millom School has been the key ingredient and we remain indebted to them for their generous support,” he added.

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