Staff at a secondary school are “in shock” after it was plunged into special measures by the Government’s education watchdog.
Wellfield Business and Enterprise College, in Leyland, has been deemed inadequate by Ofsted, with inspectors saying no aspect of life at the Yewlands Drive school meets their required standard.
Although still reeling from the scathing assessment, the school today hit back by declaring that the inspection, carried out at two days’ notice in the middle of GCSE exams, doesn’t show the school in its true light. and they said many of the issues raised were already being dealt with.
Union bosses also fear the county may be being unfairly targeted by the Government because of the low uptake of academy status. Only around 20 of the 630-plus schools have so far converted to new-style academies.
According to Ofsted, Wellfield, which was deemed to have some very good and outstanding qualities at its inspection four years ago, is “inadequate” in all five inspection areas.
The inspection criteria has been changed twice this year, and until the most recent change Wellfield would have been graded satisfactory. That classification has now been removed.
The final report, just published, stated the school ”is failing to give its students an acceptable standard of education and the persons responsible for leading, managing or governing the school are not demonstrating the capacity to secure the necessary improvement.”
It went on to say that the quality of teaching seen ranged from “outstanding to inadequate” but said learning wasn’t suitably matched to students’ needs.
Pupils behaviour was criticised and although an “overwhelming majority of parents and carers” who responded to the inspection questionnaire said they were happy with progress their children made, the inspectors didn’t share their view.
The school has grown in popularity in recent years and now has 460 pupils on roll compared to 390 at the last inspection.
However, headteacher Piers Tolson said he had questioned a number of inaccuracies in the draft report and since the inspection was carried out in June staff had worked round the clock on new procedures to try to tackle the issues raised.
He added: “Inadequate is their (Ofsted’s) word and that is not how we feel as a school.”
Mr Tolson, who has held the reins for nearly five years, said the school was “on a journey” and has had to try to accelerate plans. New structures have been put in place to improve lesson planning, new technology installed to develop learning and a lot of work had been done over the summer in training staff to better track pupil progress.
He had been upset by claims of bad behaviour and added: “People who come and visit us always comment on the behaviour and atmosphere. Why has someone come in and got it so wrong?”
Secondary school teacher Sam Ud-din, Lancashire secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said schools across the county were worried about the changes to Ofsted criteria, which means schools in special measure can be turned into academies without head or governor approval.
Sam said: “We do feel they (the Department for Education) are paying more attention to us because we have relatively few academies.”
The school will now be inspected every term for five terms for monitoring.
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