Celebrations for transformation at Wigan high school

Cansfield High School headteacher Dr Geoff Baker with pupils
Cansfield High School headteacher Dr Geoff Baker with pupils

A headteacher has praised everyone involved in his school for helping to change its fortunes.

Dr Geoff Baker said he was “absolutely delighted” that Cansfield High School in Ashton had been judged as “good” by Ofsted, having previously been given the lower rating of “requires improvement”.

Other news: Brave Wigan teenager battling rare neurological disorder left paralysed after car crash

Dr Baker, who took the helm just 10 months ago, said: “This has been a whole team effort. It’s been every single person in the school being a part of this, it’s no one person. It’s all the way from teachers to TAs to cleaners.”

He also praised the “wonderful” governors, staff from the local education authority, pupils and parents.

Dr Baker said many changes had been made, including to staffing, procedures for behaviour, the curriculum and ethos at the school.

Ofsted said Dr Baker had done a “root and branch overhaul” of the school and it was “improving rapidly”, with leaders committed to making it “a beacon of excellence”.

Its report said: “Transformational change has taken place in the school since the appointment of the new headteacher, who is a national leader of education.

“After just two terms in post, and a complete restructure of staff, systems and processes, he and his senior team have reinvigorated the whole school community.”

Staff morale was described as “high” and parents were “overwhelmingly supportive” of the school and the changes made.

New behaviour management systems had been introduced, attendance had improved and there was found to be a ”marked reduction” in exclusions.

The curriculum was now “fit for purpose” after changes were made.

Teachers had “good subject knowledge” and relationships with pupils were “strong and supportive”.

The inspector noted teaching was “improving” as staff could concentrate on improving pupils’ learning rather than managing behaviour.

New assessment systems had been introduced, pupils learned about different careers and pathways and bullying was “rare”.

The school was still rated as “requires improvement” for pupils’ outcomes, which were “much lower than they should have been” for at least three years.

Ofsted found boys’ achievement had caught up with girls’ in years seven to 10, but disadvantaged pupils continued to perform “less well than others in the school”.

Dr Baker said the outcomes were based on “historical data” and he was “very confident” they would improve.

Ofsted’s recommendations for further improvement included developing a strong culture of reading, ensuring pupils are taught about other faiths and cultures, and continuing to embed teaching and learning strategies.