LEADERS of Kirklees’ flagship free school have been praised by Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Schools (HMI).
Headteacher Brigid Tullie and her leadership team at Batley Grammar School, which has many pupils from Huddersfield, have been given a ringing endorsement by school inspector Jan Bennett for making big improvements.
Her Section 8 report has just been published and follows Ofsted’s Grade 3 - Requires Improvement verdict in February.
According to the inspector, who is trained to a higher level than the normal Ofsted school inspectors, school leaders have “responded quickly by implementing an action plan that focuses sharply on the areas for improvement highlighted by the inspection.”
She has praised the team at every level, stating: “Leaders and governors have a very clear view of what needs to be done and are prioritising well and moving the school forward at a very fast, but well-judged, pace.
“The tracking of pupils’ progress is increasingly robust, helping leaders and teachers to identify and address any under-performance quickly.
“Data shows that pupils are making much better progress than last year. Staffing issues in English are being addressed and an increasing proportion of pupils are making better than expected progress.
“The data also indicates that a considerably higher proportion of the current Year 11 pupils will achieve five GCSE passes at grade C, including English and mathematics this year.”
In September 2011, Batley Grammar School, previously an independent fee-paying school with 350 pupils, scrapped its fees, opened its doors and virtually doubled in size overnight.
The school had never previously had an Ofsted inspection and Mrs Tullie was “pleased” that the Ofsted grade had not been lower, as independent schools have different criteria to state schools.
She is, however, delighted by the vote of confidence from the schools’ inspector.
She said: “We are extremely pleased with this report which illustrates the progress we are making.
“It is a very good monitoring visit report and the fact that the visiting inspector, Jan Bennett, has made no further recommendations and has advised us that we may choose how best to use our two remaining HMI support days speaks volumes.
“We fully expect the school to receive a good or better judgement at our next inspection.”