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Friday, 01 August 2014

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Workington school taking 'effective action' to improve - Ofsted

A school which was blasted by Ofsted inspectors and ordered to improve as part of a countywide blitz is taking positive steps.

St Joseph
Tom Ryan

The judging of St Joseph’s school was the first to be published by the education watchdog last year after 16 schools were put under the spotlight following concerns that they were not good enough.

And in the weeks following St Joseph’s being deemed to “require improvement”, education in west Cumbria was thrown into doubt as it was announced that two schools – Southfield and Stainburn in Workington – were to close and be replaced with a single academy after being placed in special measures.

Today’s news that St Joseph’s is making the necessary steps to turn its fate around will be welcomed for many Workington families who feared for their children’s education.

The results from the first monitoring inspection at St Joseph’s are extremely positive, with inspector Patrick Geraghty saying that “effective action” is being taken to tackle areas requiring improvement.

Mr Geraghty met the headteacher, governors and county council representatives, as well as a group of pupils during the monitoring visit last month.

In his report, he said: “The headteacher and other senior leaders have produced a post-inspection improvement plan that tackles the key recommendations arising from the November inspection.”

It added that school has a “strong focus” on ways and means to tackle the underperformance of the most able pupils, particularly in English, as well as governors strengthening their understanding of pupil monitoring and tracking evidence of how well they are doing.

It also said that the local authority is “committed” to supporting the school in aiding its improvement planning and practice.

Tom Ryan, headteacher St Joseph’s, said: “I am delighted with how well our action plan has been received.

“A number of the strategies identified have been in place for a little while and will now be incorporated into our improvement plan. The Ofsted inspector who visited us was very complimentary about our school and in particular the high standard of teaching and pupil behaviour.

“With his support and with the benefit of his experience, I am confident we will continue to improve.

“His visit was a very positive experience.”

The school will have another three or four monitoring inspections this year, to keep track of the progress made.

When the original Ofsted results were revealed last year, Mr Ryan told the News & Star that even though the school had been told to improve, he was pleased that its strengths had been recognised.

He added that he had “every confidence” the school would be rated as ‘good’ on its next full inspection.

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