Lancaster's Chadwick High School is a 'game changer' for pupils as Ofsted labels it 'good'

A Lancaster secondary school has been labelled a 'game changer' for its pupils by Ofsted inspectors.
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Chadwick High School in Lancaster has improved drastically since its last inspection, and has now been rated as 'good'.

In 2015, the school was rated 'inadequate' and placed into special measures, and two years later was still 'requiring improvement'.

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But the latest two-day inspection of this Pupil Referral Unit (PRU), which is based on the former Skerton High School site, found that it gives pupils a taste of success and achievement that was missing in their previous education.

Chadwick High School.Chadwick High School.
Chadwick High School.

Pupils told inspectors that if it was not for Chadwick High "they would not be in education".

In the main, they join the school - which currently has 68 pupils - part way through their secondary years, for a variety of reasons.

Some may have personal issues which mean that they are uncomfortable in a mainstream educational environment, whilst others may be there for a respite before returning. The school also educates those permanently excluded from other schools.

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The inspectors found a warm welcome and high expectations from staff, and a focus on preparing the pupils for GCSE exams and life beyond school, helping the pupils to think seriously about future aspirations.

Headteacher Andrew Murray has been in post for 18 months and is also the head of another successful PRU, the McKee College House in Poulton. He has recently established a federation between the two schools, providing mutual benefit.

He was delighted that the inspectors had graded all five areas within the inspection as 'good', saying: “The staff and the pupils are to be congratulated on the major advances made since the last inspection.

"We are all proud of the school and its achievements. It now provides an excellent alternative provision for those who are unsuited to larger high schools in the area.”

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Much has changed during Mr Murray’s time at the school, and the school now offers several school-based vocational courses alongside GCSE teaching.

Pupils can choose to learn about construction, motor mechanics or hair and beauty, and pupils often gain extra motivation by establishing this link between their work in school and a possible future career.

The inspectors praised the fact that pupils’ personal development is a key focus, with the staff being seen as excellent role models, providing support and safeguarding of very high quality.

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