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Friday, 19 December 2014

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Ofsted praise makes Caldew School determined to get even better

Pupils' achievements are improving rapidly at Caldew School – a school that is on the up, according to Government inspectors.

Chris McAree photo
Chris McAree

And headteacher Chris McAree says he’s now driven to make further improvements in his aim to see the Dalston secondary join the best in the country as he wants Caldew to be outstanding when it is next inspected.

A team from the education watchdog Ofsted visited recently and now rates Caldew School as a good school. At its previous inspection, Caldew was satisfactory.

The improvements are down to the success of the headteacher, staff and governors in raising the aspirations of pupils and parents, the inspectors say. Teaching has also improved.

Inspectors say the school’s leaders have “pursued improvements with great determination”.

Mr McAree said: “We’re extremely pleased with the report.

“I feel it reflects the positive moves we’ve been making and confirms what we know about our own school, that we’re a good school. The students are making fantastic progress and they are doing that because we are improving the quality of teaching and learning in the school.”

Mr McAree, a former deputy head who took over as headteacher in September last year, added: “I’m particularly pleased that the inspectors have reported that improvements have come about but we have not lost our strength: the nurturing and family environment we have here. By the time of the next inspection we will be outstanding.”

“We are raising the expectations of students and staff about what they can achieve. Where the Government would talk about expected levels of progress, we challenge our students to go above that. We’ve designed our curriculum around that drive and the students are rising to that challenge.”

Inspectors note that attainment across all subjects, particularly English and maths, is rising and pupils are making good progress from their starting points.

Teaching is also good, some is outstanding, and inspectors praise the relationships between staff and pupils, stating they are “positive and supportive”. They noted frequent checks are made on pupils’ progress to help identify gaps in knowledge or to provide added support to pupils who need it.

Pupils’ behaviour was also a highlight for inspectors. In particular, sixth formers are said to be “good role models for younger” pupils. Caldew’s links with other schools and its enthusiasm to share good practice are also a strength.

Mr McAree and the governing body must now look to improve the proportion of good and outstanding teaching so pupils’ improvements can continue.

Closer checks must also be made across all subjects to see how day-to-day work in classrooms is helping those pupils, who have fallen behind, to catch up.

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