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Calder High Ofsted Report: School given 'notice to improve'

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Following on from Riverside, our largest primary school being put into 'special measures' by its Ofsted Inspectors (see HebWeb news report), our local secondary school, Calder High, has now been put on 'notice to improve'.

Calder High made national news headlines over the past 2-3 years following its questionable handling of the 'Miss Rusty Affair' (see HebWeb feature), and more recently parents have threatened to boycott exams over students having to take exams in Year 9 (see HebWeb news report).

In a letter to parents, Headteacher Mrs Spillane has written, "The inspection team found that the behaviour of some of our students was unacceptable and has given the school a notice to improve. As a result, an Ofsted inspector will return in the near future to monitor what progress is being made to improve this."

About student behaviour the Inspectors have written:

In and around the main school, not including the sixth form where behaviour is good, several students show significant disregard for the school’s behaviour policies. Inspectors overheard frequent use of unacceptable language, mostly at a distance but in deliberate earshot. Students were seen to challenge school staff regarding what is acceptable and what is not.

Students spoke to inspectors about the numbers who smoke, usually in unseen outside areas and also offsite at lunchtime. Inspectors smelled smoke on several students. The level of supervision is inadequate for the size and distribution of the school site. There are too many opportunities for students to misbehave while unseen.

Students are able to wander too freely at lunchtime. Several students do not manage their own behaviour to an acceptable standard. The questionnaires returned by staff, pupils and parents and carers all show very high percentages expressing concern about students’ behaviour. Groups of students who spoke to inspectors highlighted concerns about racist remarks, disruption in some lessons and said that students’ views are not taken seriously by staff. Inspectors agree with their concerns.

The HebWeb has, since 1995, regularly commented that given its catchment area, we should expect Calder High to perform much better than it has done. It is therefore encouraging to see Ofsted recommending "enabling greater involvement of parents and carers in their children's learning by creating more opportunities for parents and carers to engage in the life and work of the school".


What does the school need to do to improve further?


Improve the behaviour of students by:

  • increasing the level of supervision in and around the school
  • improving the management of the premises including strengthening thearrangements for lunchtime by limiting movement for students and ensuring that designated areas are fully utilised
  • ensuring that all students and staff fully understand the school’s expectations of students’ behaviour
  • ensuring that all staff consistently apply the school’s policies for managing students’ behaviour
  • improving students’ ability to communicate their worries or concerns quickly to staff and increasing their confidence in the staff’s responses.

Improve students’ academic progress by: -

  • increasing the amount of good and better teaching
  • developing more opportunities for independent learning
  • improving the use of assessment, especially in lessons, to rigorously check on students’ understanding
  • increasing the pace of learning and the level of challenge for students
  • improving the impact of marking so that students are clearer about how to improve their work.

Strengthen the impact of external partnerships on students’ learning and behaviour by:

  • enabling greater involvement of parents and carers in their children’s learning by creating more opportunities for parents and carers to engage in the life and work of the school
  • requesting the support, expertise and experience of the local authority in regard to the points for improvement.

See Calder High Ofsted Report March 2012

HebWeb Forum: Calder High

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