Leaders of a Huddersfield high school have admitted a gloomy Ofsted report was “a kick up the backside”.

But there has now been a major turnaround at Newsome High School and Sports College and inspectors are delighted.

When Ofsted visited Newsome High School and Sports College in spring, inspectors told leaders to pick up the pace.

The school was doing OK, but it could do better.

Headteacher Paul Gittins and his staff knew what was needed to bring about improvements - but the speed of change was too slow.

When Ofsted dropped the school a grade to 3-Requires Improvement, school leaders brought forward proposed changes by five months.

At Easter new assessments were introduced for each pupil, and teachers’ marking was standardised. A great deal of effort was put into extra tuition for those pupils who wanted it and there was much talk in assemblies of raised expectations and high standards of behaviour.

Paul Gittins, Headteacher of Newsome High School and Sports College.
Paul Gittins, Headteacher of Newsome High School and Sports College.
 

Fast forward to summer 2014 and Newsome has just posted GCSE results 10% better than last summer - one of the biggest rises in Kirklees at a time when many schools have suffered a dip in results due to tougher exam marking.

This year’s pass rate of five A* to C grades including English and maths was 57%, virtually double what it was when Paul Gittins arrived at the school in 2007.

He said: “Ofsted gave us a kick up the backside. They didn’t tell us anything we weren’t already aware of, we just weren’t doing things fast enough.

“We brought forward our development plans from September to Easter. We are very much a family school and I expect the teachers to have great expectations as well as the students.

“I have the best staff I’ve ever had here, they will always go that extra mile for the students.

“When we asked for volunteers to help with extra tuition on a Monday night, for example, we had 25 teachers give up their time and kids flocked in numbers; it was fantastic.

“I’m a PE teacher by training and when you’ve had a knock in sport, you get up and become stronger - and that’s what we’ve done.”

It appears that the men from the ministry agree. An Ofsted monitoring report published last month stated that the school was taking effective action and moving forward swiftly.

Newsome can expect another monitoring visit before Christmas and then at some later point, a full Ofsted inspection -when Mr Gittins is fully expecting the school to have its Good status returned.

He added: “This is truly a fabulous place to work and learn and this year it is onwards and upwards again. We have had a hiccup, but the school is thriving again; there’s a real buzz here.”

Newsome High has 650 students and 55 teaching staff. An Open Evening will be held at from 5.30pm to 8pm on Wednesday, September 17.