Borough high school getting better but still needs improvement, inspectors say

More changes need to be made at a high school where pupils’ progress was among the worst in the country.

By Gaynor Clarke
Thursday, 16th May 2019, 9:29 am
Updated Thursday, 16th May 2019, 10:29 am
Hindley High School
Hindley High School

Ofsted carried out a monitoring inspection at Hindley High School after it was given the rating of “requires improvement” in two previous visits.

Inspector Emma Gregory found that while changes had been made, senior leaders and governors were “not taking effective action” to tackle the areas needing improvement to make the school good.

In a letter to headteacher Dr Ian Butterfield, she wrote: “You recognise that there is more work to do to ensure that the school provides a good standard of education. However, the actions that leaders have taken since the previous inspection have not secured improvements quickly enough.

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Hindley High School

“Outcomes for those pupils who left the school in 2018 were particularly weak. Pupils made poor progress from their starting points in many subjects, including English and mathematics.

“Examination results for key stage four show that pupils’ rates of progress in 2018 were in the bottom 20 per cent nationally. This was the case in English, mathematics, science and humanities. Disadvantaged pupils who left the school in 2018 made especially poor progress.”

Ofsted found a review of the use of pupil premium funding had taken place, with leaders “keen” to implement the recommendations.

However, assessment information showed there were still “wide differences” in the progress made by disadvantaged pupils and others, particularly in year 11.

Improvements had been made to outcomes for pupils in some subjects, such as modern foreign languages for those leaving in 2018.

Assessment information showed more pupils achieving a standard pass in English and maths, but Ofsted said many year 11 pupils were “not on track to achieve the standards of which they are capable by the end of key stage four in maths”.

There had been improvements to the quality of teaching and teachers asked challenging questions of pupils more often, but inconsistencies remained.

A focus on going to school every day had led to improved attendance among disadvantaged pupils and those with special educational needs and/or disabilities.

A new chairman of governors had been appointed, along with two new governors and new lead practitioners in English, maths and science.

The progress of improvement plans was monitored and reviewed more regularly and there were improved systems for holding middle leaders to account.

Ofsted found the school was receiving support from other schools and external experts.

Ms Gregory wrote: “Staff and governors are determined to make Hindley High School a good school. In more recent months, following the appointment of four leader practitioners, and changes to senior leadership roles, the pace of improvement has quickened. However, some of the key issues identified at the previous inspection have not been addressed with sufficient urgency.”