Ofsted study reveals ‘failings’ at Wigan school

Rose Bridge Academy
Rose Bridge Academy
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A secondary school in Wigan is in special measures after a shocking report by Ofsted exposed a catalogue of serious leadership failures.

A toxic mixture of poor accountability, complacency about performance and low expectations made Rose Bridge Academy an inadequate school, inspectors have concluded.

Three of the four major criteria assessed by Ofsted were given inadequate ratings, with the fourth judged to require improvement.

The report lays bare a huge list of major shortcomings, including inadequate teaching, which was particularly weak in English, maths and science.

Pupils did not make enough progress and were not sufficiently challenged by their work.

That meant GCSE results in 2016 and 2017 in English and science were in the lowest 10 per cent nationally.

Attempts to improve literacy and numeracy were not effective, too many pupils were late and attitudes towards learning varied hugely across the Holt Street school.

Rose Bridge Academy will now face regular monitoring and scrutiny from the Department of Education (DoE) until standards get better. Some of the inspectors’ strictest words were reserved for the leadership of the school, some of whom are no longer in position.

The report said: “Leaders have failed to ensure that the school provides its pupils with an acceptable standard of education.

“The current leadership team does not have the capacity to bring about the rapid improvements that the school requires.

“The school’s self-evaluation is inaccurate and imprecise.

“Leaders have an overgenerous view of how they, and the school, are performing. This has prevented them from taking action to stem the decline in the quality of teaching.

“As a result, all groups of pupils make inadequate progress.

“Leaders have not created a culture of high expectations across the school. Their low expectations for what pupils can achieve are a serious impediment to school improvement.”

The inspectors said Rose Bridge focused too much on pupils’ individual achievements rather than whether they were making enough progress compared to where they were when they started secondary education.

Although the emphasis on creating a nurturing environment was praised, this was at the expense of raising academic expectations.

It said progress in English and science in particular was “very slow”.

However, the report also acknowledged that, over two years, work had gone into improving attendance, which was in line with the national average from being well behind.

The inspectors also found staff were proud to work at Rose Bridge Academy and safeguarding was effective. The governors also came in for heavy criticism after having to accept they did not do enough to challenge underachievement.

The governing body was unaware of significant gaps in results, with girls underachieving in several subjects.

While there were major issues in the teaching of many subjects, with too few examples of high-quality work for pupils to aim towards, inspectors suggested younger year groups were now receiving better education. However, in the core subjects, pupils were finding it difficult to recall the basics well and in English there were not enough opportunities for speaking and extended writing.

The inspectors found photography work being produced in year nine which was already of GCSE standard.

Pupils were well cared for, but behaviour needed improvements and opportunities to introduce good habits and discipline were missed.