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Watchdog tells Kirklees school it is failing despite good GCSE results

Principal at Castle Hall Academy Trust says Ofsted have again 'raised the bar'

Castle Hall Academy, Mirfield.

Government inspectors have warned a Kirklees school that it is failing its pupils.

Mirfield-based Castle Hall Academy Trust has been given the lowest rating following an inspection last November.

Two years ago the school was judged as ‘Good’ by education watchdog Ofsted.

But it has now rated it as ‘Inadequate’ and issued a strongly worded report attacking standards.

And the report casts doubt on school principal Andy Pugh’s ability to turn things around.

It infers the senior team was oblivious to the fact it was failing saying that “leaders and managers lack the capacity to improve the school” and claims they “have an over-generous view of how good teaching is.”

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Inspectors said teachers’ expectations of pupils were not high enough, bullying was going unreported, attendance levels were poor, behaviour in class was not up to scratch and careers advice was ineffective.

It said pupils themselves commented that the quality of classes depended on which teacher was in charge and that more able youngsters were “coasting” through undemanding work.

Ofsted

 

Spelling and grammar mistakes were being ignored by some teachers and “low expectations” were preventing brighter pupils from getting higher grades.

English, science, geography and history were all raised as subjects with “significant weaknesses.”

Ofsted also raised concerns about the oversight of school governors who it said “were not meeting their statutory duties.”

The damning report comes despite the school achieving well above average GCSE results.

GCSE results 2016 from Castle Hall Academy

Kirklees Council was also criticised by Ofsted for being “weak and ineffective” in its support to Castle Hall.

In a statement Mr Pugh said staff and governors were determined to put right the report’s findings.

He said: “Ofsted has again ‘raised the bar’ and the key issue for the academy is to improve the progress students make.

“Ofsted saw a number of positive aspects of Castle Hall’s work – headline GCSE results are regularly above the national average, the English Baccalaureate score (41%) which is the third highest outcome across Kirklees, and double the national average, strong performance in maths and modern foreign languages and the academy’s Alternative Curriculum Day programme which helps keep students safe and healthy.

“Our GCSE results – based mainly on an academic curriculum – have always equipped a large number of our students to move on to successful post-16 education, often in some of the most competitive sixth form colleges.

“But we now need to make sure that every student achieves the best possible grade in every subject.”

Mr Pugh said he had written to all parents and carers to reassure them that academy leaders are already drawing up a thorough action plan to tackle the report’s recommendations and demonstrate rapid improvement.

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