Crisis of confidence at Stratton school

MBCH  Stratton Upper School PNL-140318-172344001
MBCH Stratton Upper School PNL-140318-172344001

Staff and parents at a Biggleswade school have lost confidence in the headteacher and school leaders, according to its latest Ofsted report.

Stratton Upper School has been deemed ‘requires improvement’ after the schools watchdog said the quality of education had declined since the previous inspection.

In a damning report inspectors said:

> Leaders’ attention has not focused on the improvement of teaching and pupils’ progress

> Evaluation of performance had not been sharp enogh meaning school improvement had been slow

> Some teachers lack confidence in leaders’ responses when they report concerns

> Pupils did not attend school as often as they should

> Teachers’ expectations are not routinely high enough for all pupils, including the most able

> Behaviour is not managed consistently well in lessons.

“This school has experienced a period of instability and uncertainty since its previous inspection, including staff redundancies, changes to the sponsor role for another school and a building programme,” said inspectors. “Leaders did not manage this period of instability as well as they could.”

Over a third of parents who responded to the Ofsted questionnaire said the school was not well managed and did not believe their children were well taught.

Over half the staff who responded said they did not believe the school was well managed.

“Following changes to pastoral leadership, routine arrangements for maintaining and improving pupils’ attendance have not been effective,” said the report. “Attendance has declined in the current academic year and is below the national average.”

Inspectors said the behaviour of pupils need improvement: “Teachers do not consistently insist upon the standards expected for positive behaviour and a significant number report that they receive mixed messages from senior leaders when they do,” said inspectors.

But the report also said current improvement plans demonstrate an accurate understanding of the school’s priorities and that the sixth form provision is good.

“The leader for this area of the school’s work is carefully focused and leads with clarity,” said inspectors.

Roz Hodges, acting headteacher at the school, said the school management accepted the judgement and that standards were not good enough.

She said: “There is work to be done. We have some lessons to learn and some things to do. We had already seen the issues and had already started planning to sort them out.

“We are working to get us back to ‘good’ as soon as we can.”

She said the school had set itself a deadline of September 2019 to turn themselves around.

They have also been holding meetings with parents.

“Some have come back and said we have their full support and that we are moving in the right direction,” she added.