Wigan school back from the brink after being branded "inadequate" by Ofsted

A Wigan secondary school has been hailed by watchdogs for achieving a remarkable turnaround in fortunes.

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 2:19 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 4:57 pm
Headteacher James Haseldine

It was only in April last year that Dean Trust Wigan was branded “inadequate” by Ofsted.

But following a two-day inspection in July has received a glowing report saying leaders and managers at the Orrell school are taking effective action and the trust’s statement and improvement plan are both fit for purpose.

It continues a remarkable upswing in fortunes which began when Ofsted recognised Dean Trust Wigan had provided effective education to pupils during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The recognition of the improvements at the school is also welcome after the academy trust reacted with fury recently when the Department for Education (DfE) put the letter warning that funding agreements have to be looked at in the wake of poor Ofsted reports in the public domain more than 12 months after the inspection which was being referenced.

Trust and school leaders say they are thrilled with the latest verdict from Ofsted on the work they have been doing since last April.

Executive headteacher James Haseldine said: “I am particularly pleased to see Ofsted recognise the swift and decisive action the school has taken to significantly improve behaviour and pupils’ use of language.

“I am also pleased to see that the school’s work to strengthen pupils’ personal development opportunities has been credited.

“We have an ambitious school improvement plan and we have had to shift our mindset, so that we could continue to raise standards for pupils despite the challenges the pandemic has presented.

“The attitude and appetite for improvement have been contagious and that mindset must become locked in as we continue our work.

“There is still much to do to get us to Good but what we have achieved is phenomenal.”

Tarun Kapur CBE, chief executive of the Dean Trust, said: “Naturally, we are delighted with the progress that Dean Trust Wigan has made against the backdrop of the pandemic.

“It is remarkable that we have been able to make significant improvements under the leadership of executive headteacher, James Haseldine.

“We now look forward to further improvements in the new academic year.”

Ofsted found the use of inappropriate language by pupils around school has reduced considerably, that staff are proud to work at Dean Trust Wigan and that there is a clear sense of camaraderie on site.

Inspectors also praised the work done by trustees and governors to hold the school’s leaders to account.

The Department for Education and its regional commissioners, which sent the letter warning about the school’s funding agreement, will also be updated on the progress it has made.

The Dean Trust Wigan will now have to await its next full Ofsted inspection.