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Friday, 29 August 2014

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Cumbrian senior school earns praise for improvements

A school which was told to do better has been praised by Ofsted inspectors for the improvements made in just six weeks.

Chris McGrath photo
Chris McGrath

Stainburn School and Science College in Workington had given a disappointing Ofsted grade last year but since then staff and Governors have been working to turn its fortunes around.

And a monitoring inspection report has revealed that it is being achieved.

Headteacher Chris McGrath said that when the Government inspector, Lee Northern, visited the school he could either rate the progress made as good, some progress or inadequate.

“He told me it was the only time that he’s ever used the good progress,” said Mr McGrath.

“It’s a very positive report and we are very pleased with the acknowledgement of the rapid and accelerated response [the school has made].

“This really is a confirmation and validation of the actions we are already doing.”

In his report, Mr Northern said that the school’s headteacher and other senior leaders have “responded well” to the areas for improvement adding that actions already in place at the first Ofsted visit have been strengthened and the pace of improvement “accelerated.”

“The school has worked hard to ensure a sharp focus on the most important priorities: raising the level of students’ achievement, improving the overall quality of teaching and building greater capacity within middle leadership to drive further improvement,” said Mr Northern.

And the school’s students have also praised the work teachers are doing to improve their learning, especially the written feedback they receive and advice given that helps to improve their work.

Stainburn is currently in the process of merging with the town’s Southfield School and applying for academy status.

This would see a brand new school built on the Stainburn site, for all pupils to attend.

At its last full inspection, where the school was rated as requiring improvement a four-strong team from Ofsted observed 35 lessons over two days.

Their report said that attainment at age 16 is “average” and could be better. It also went on to say that most pupils make the progress expected but too few make better-than-expected progress.

A new inspection regime at Ofsted has replaced the old ‘satisfactory’ grading with ‘requires improvement’.

Stainburn will get a further monitoring inspection in May or June.

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