Ofsted brands Wigan high school 'inadequate' and demands action urgently

A Wigan high school where pupils use discriminatory language, disrupt lessons and do not attend regularly enough has been rated as “inadequate” by education inspectors.

Friday, 17th July 2020, 1:38 pm
Updated Friday, 17th July 2020, 1:42 pm

Ofsted found the behaviour of some children at Dean Trust Wigan prevented others learning and some teachers had “lost confidence” in the systems to manage pupils’ behaviour.

It said “urgent action” should be taken to improve behaviour and support given to teachers to better manage their behaviour.

A “high proportion” of pupils were excluded, particularly disadvantaged youngsters and those with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND).

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Tarun Kapur

The critical findings have been published in the school’s first Ofsted report since it opened in 2017, replacing Abraham Guest Academy, which was given the higher rating of “requires improvement” in its last two inspections.

A team of inspectors spent two days at the Orrell school in February, but their report has only just been published.

Lead inspector Emma Gregory wrote: “Many pupils told us that discriminatory language, for example regarding sexual orientation, is frequent. More worryingly, they accept this as the norm. Many pupils do not report this offensive language to staff. Leaders have not ensured that the school is a respectful community.”

She said younger pupils reported “pushing and shoving” on corridors and that the behaviour of a small number of pupils was “particularly disorderly” at social times.

There were also issues with behaviour during lessons.

The inspector wrote: “Too often, pupils’ learning is disrupted by the behaviour of others. Many teachers have high expectations of pupils.

“That said, in some classes, the conduct of some pupils is repeatedly troublesome, and some teachers do not challenge this behaviour. There is a high proportion of pupils who are excluded from school.”

Attendance was found to be “far too low”, with a “very high proportion” of disadvantaged children absent regularly.

There were issues with the personal development curriculum, which was delivered in a variety of ways and which some staff had not received appropriate training to deliver correctly, according to Ofsted.

The inspectors did find improvements had been made to the quality of education, particularly in science, where achievement had improved “considerably”.

Many teachers had “expert knowledge” of their subject and the curriculum had been redesigned so more pupils did the English baccalaureate.

But older pupils did not have some of the necessary knowledge, as they did not benefit from the demanding curriculums at key stage three, so did not achieve well in GCSE exams.

Teachers had information about pupils with SEND and some were found to use this well to adapt the curriculum, but this was not done across the school.

There were a wide range of activities on offer at lunchtimes and after school and “nearly all” pupils progressed to further education, training or employment.

Tarun Kapur, chief executive of Dean Trust, said issues at the school had been “a dip” and changes were already being made.

A new headteacher James Haseldine has been appointed, who also leads Dean Trust Rose Bridge. Mr Kapur said: “We have a fresh leadership team who are moving the school forward quickly. The trust is pleased with the action taken, because we know this is a one-year dip for us. We had record results the year before. By September, the parents will see we are flying.”

He said action was being taken to improve behaviour at the school, using policies and procedures already in place.

“We had already recognised that we need to strengthen our behaviour policy and we had started to do that. James has come in and started to do that,” he said.

“It’s developing and it can’t be done overnight, but we will be in a position by September where all of that is in place.

“The children already know what’s hit them because they have had a significant wake-up call that the most important thing is the children show respect and have traditional values, because that’s what school is about.”