Ofsted has ‘raised the bar’ says Whitburn Academy head as school is downgraded following latest inspection

The head of Whitburn Church of England Academy says watchdogs have ‘raised the bar significantly’ as school is downgraded in latest Ofsted report.

Thursday, 5th December 2019, 4:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th December 2019, 5:28 pm

The Academy, which teaches pupils aged 11-18, was rated as ‘good’ at its latest inspection, which took place in November, after many years of being an ‘outstanding’ school.

The report, which was published on Wednesday, December 4, states that in recent years pupils have not made the ‘outstanding progress’ they once did.

It highlighted particular issues with disadvantaged pupils and those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) not progressing as well as they should, with attendance much lower among this group and some teachers not adapting lessons as much as they could.

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Whitburn Church of England Academy has been downgraded to 'good' in its latest Ofsted inspection.
Whitburn Church of England Academy has been downgraded to 'good' in its latest Ofsted inspection.

Despite celebrating excellent exam results in the summer, Ofsted said that the school’s Key Stage 3 and 4 curriculum was ‘no longer as balanced’ as it should be, with fewer students studying challenging subjects.

However, inspectors found that pupils were proud to attend the school, enjoyed excellent relationships with staff and behaved ‘impeccably’ throughout the day.

The report also recognised that Principal John Crowe, who took on the role in May, was taking steps to make improvements.

In a letter sent out to parents, Mr Crowe said the school was ‘fully aware’ of what was needed to increase progress.

He said: “I am extremely proud of our students and staff and while the school is no longer rated as ‘outstanding’, it is important to note that our students’ GCSE and A Level results remain excellent.

“The new Ofsted framework has raised the bar significantly to be classed as ‘outstanding’ – many schools previously classed as ‘outstanding’ have similarly dropped a grade. We as a school are fully aware of what we need to do in order to increase our levels of progress and since I became Principal we have introduced several changes to address this, whilst not compromising our values.

Mr Crowe added: “Ofsted was complimentary about our school and is confident with the way we are taking steps to further improve our school.”