Wigan school's leaders 'know what needs to be done' to improve it, say inspectors

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Changes have been made at an “improving” Wigan high school – three years after it was branded as “inadequate” by education inspectors.

Dean Trust Wigan in Orrell has been rated as “requires improvement” following a two-day visit by Ofsted.

That was a step up from the lowest mark of “inadequate”, which it was given in February 2020 in its first report after replacing Abraham Guest Academy.

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At that time, inspectors said pupils used discriminatory language, disrupted lessons and did not attend regularly enough.

Dean Trust Wigan in OrrellDean Trust Wigan in Orrell
Dean Trust Wigan in Orrell

But following their visit in November, they wrote, in a report published this week, that the school’s leaders and governing body “know what needs to be done to improve the school” and were “starting to bring about the necessary improvements.”

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Lead inspector Kate Bowker wrote: “Pupils and staff at the school are right to identify the Dean Trust Wigan as an improving school. Pupils recognise and appreciate the changes taken to improve their experiences at the school. As a result, most pupils feel happy and safe.”

Ofsted found the school had “high expectations for pupils’ academic achievement” and children were benefiting from a “rich, varied and ambitious curriculum”.

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There was a “sharp focus” on improving the quality of education and support for the “significant” number of new teachers and subject leaders.

Ofsted found the school “quickly and accurately” identified the needs of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and they were "fully involved in all aspects of school life”.

Pupils’ personal development was of “great importance” and they were encouraged to have their say on decisions to improve their experience at school.

Inspectors found “most” pupils met expectations for behaviour and embodied the values of “be ready, be respectful, be responsible”.

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Ms Bowker wrote: “The school has taken effective steps to embed clear routines and manage poor behaviour. Classrooms are calm and orderly. Typically, pupils are engaged and want to learn.

"The school has made efforts to improve the rate of pupils’ attendance, with some success. However, a significant minority of pupils, including pupils with SEND,

still regularly miss school. This hinders their progress through the curriculum.”

Ofsted reported a series of changes were still needed at the Greenhey school so it can improve further.

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The delivery of the curriculum was “too variable” and some teachers did not use effective methods to build on what pupils already knew.

Assessment was not used consistently across all subjects and teachers were not always clear on gaps in pupils’ knowledge, while the reading curriculum was described as “underdeveloped”.

The school was also told it should ensure all pupils attend school regularly and on time and that the new personal development programme should be fully embedded to help pupils be better prepared for life.

Welcoming the report, headteacher Jennifer Evans said she felt “privileged” to lead the school.

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She continued: “Dean Trust Wigan has shown significant improvement from its previous Ofsted report and is now judged as ‘requires improvement’ in all areas. This reflects the ongoing hard work done by staff, pupils, governors, parents and the local community.

"l am excited to continue to work with all in our community as we continue our journey, achieving our vision for all our pupils to believe in themselves, achieve their potential and succeed in their journey through life.'

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