July 26 2014 Latest news:
Alex Hurrell, Reporter
Friday, April 25, 2014
The head of a north Norfolk high school in special measures has said he is “very pleased” at an Ofsted inspector’s comments on its progress in a monitoring report.
Stalham Junior School, which is poised to become an academy, has recently undergone its third Ofsted monitoring inspection since it was placed in special measures just over a year ago.
Monitoring inspector Paul Brooker concluded: “The school is making reasonable progress towards the removal of special measures,” and he has given permission for one newly-qualified teacher to be recruited.
The school, which has about 224 children on roll, is set to become an academy on Thursday, May 1.
It will be run under the sponsorship of the Right For Success academy sponsorship trust, based at the Eaton Hall Specialist Academy.
Stalham High’s new executive headteacher Gerard Batty added that the school’s immediate focus was on supporting year 11 students through their spring GCSE exams.
Mr Batty said a great deal of catch-up work had gone in to helping the students, after last November’s damning Ofsted report.
He would be disappointed if 50pc of the GCSE candidates did not achieve at least five A*-C grades, including maths and English. Last year the school dropped to 45pc compared to the Norfolk average of 54pc and the English average of 59pc.
The 468-pupil school has recently been revisited by Ofsted following its downgrade into special measures which came on the heels of a “good” ranking eight months earlier.
Ofsted inspector Paul Brooker, in his monitoring report, praises Stalham High’s new chiefs, including an interim executive board, which replaced the school’s governing body.
“Leaders have taken swift and decisive action to strengthen the school,” he says in the report.
They had addressed the disappointment and disbelief which followed the special measures blow by making clear what the school had to do to improve and how it would be achieved.
Mr Batty, who is combining his role at Stalham with his headship of Hellesdon High School, said he thought Mr Brooker had “assessed the situation very accurately.”
He added: “We have made huge strides and I am very impressed with the way staff have pitched into making changes.”
Morale had noticeably improved since the day he had arrived at the school in January when everyone had looked “glum and shellshocked.”
He believed the special measures Ofsted report had been “nearer the mark” than the earlier good ranking. Maths and science had both been sub-standard but a huge effort had been put into improving them.
Mr Brooker had also now judged the school to be good enough to recruit up to two newly-qualified teachers (NQTs) and they were already advertising for a science NQT, Mr Batty added.
He is due to quit the post at the end of August when Stalham High is expected to become a sponsored academy.
Mr Batty said he hoped a sponsor with a “proven track record” would be chosen.