School challenges Ofsted report

A VALE School that has beentold it needs improvement by Ofsted is fighting against the judgement.

St Nicholas C of E Middle School in Main Street, Pinvin, has lodged a formal complaint against the decision by inspectors to judge the school as a level three.

Until the end of last year that category meant 'satisfactory' but now it is officially billed 'requires improvement'.

Inspectors spent two days at the school in January.

But headteacher David Snell says sections of their report, which has now been published, are simply wrong, particularly concerning pupils' progress.

"We feel strongly that the report does not give an accurate assessment of pupil progress at St Nicholas, it is contradictory in many elements and its overall judgement is unfairly negative," said Mr Snell. "Many parents with pupils at the school have contacted me about how the report is seriously at odds with their own experience, since they see how well their own children develop and how happy they are here.

"As with any school there is a constant cycle of improvement in place and we are always seeking to improve our provision.

"We have work to do to make us an outstanding school and note some of what Ofsted have said to enable us to do that, but we disagree on the key area of achievement."

The report said pupils are not challenged to achieve the very best they can and that progress is slower in writing than in maths and reading.

But it rated the behaviour and safety of pupils as good, adding that questioning is used skilfully and relationships are good between the teachers and students.

The inspector also said the school’s own information from assessments shows more pupils are now exceeding nationally expected progress than previously was the case. This is because the school has made great efforts to reshape the way a large number of subjects are taught in order to make them more interesting.

Gary Robinson, chair of Governors at the school, said he believed something had gone seriously wrong with the inspection process.

The school also stated it is in the top 20 schools for progress and attainment in reading nationally, the third best for progress and attainment in maths of the 21 local middle schools.

An Ofsted spokesperson said: "We have received a complaint from this school about our judgement and are considering it carefully."

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