Wigan school celebrates "transformative improvements" after latest Ofsted visit

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Teachers and pupils at a once struggling Wigan school are celebrating a glowing report from education watchdogs.

Lowton CE High received a visit from Ofsted inspectors in March and their now published report has graded the school “Good” in all areas and notes the “transformative improvement” in the school since the last inspection in 2019.

Several years ago the school was told that it was in need of improvement.

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archive images of Wigan’s King Street from decades past
Kieran Larkin, headteacher of Lowton CE High SchoolKieran Larkin, headteacher of Lowton CE High School
Kieran Larkin, headteacher of Lowton CE High School

Now overall effectiveness of the school, keadership and management education quality, behaviour and attitudes and oersonal development have all been rated “Good”.

The report praises how well pupils achieve, that the curriculum is ambitious for all of them, that behaviour is strong, classrooms are calm and purposeful, staff are proud to work at the school, and there is a strong safeguarding culture throughout.

Kieran Larkin, who has been headteacher since September 2020 ,said: “I welcome this great report on our school, reflecting the determined efforts of students, staff, and governors of the school.

"It reflects the hard work, aspirations, and achievement of many. We are a school in the community with the highest of aspirations for each child that comes here – and this report reflects that we are delivering on that promise in all year groups in the school.

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Lowton CE High is clearly a school on the upLowton CE High is clearly a school on the up
Lowton CE High is clearly a school on the up

"Each day we aim to be excellent in all we do, and this report reflects that are delivering on that commitment each day.”

Following a set of examination results last year which were the school’s best ever and among the best in Wigan, the inspection report notes the considerable improvements and successes of the school in recent years. Inspectors note that leaders have brought about “considerable improvement”.

The report said “pupils are happy and keen to learn. They achieve well and they are well prepared for the next stage in their education.”

In particular, it was noted that “pupils enjoy a good quality of education” which is reflected in what inspectors saw in classrooms which they report as being “calm and purposeful”.

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Schools are inspected in a number of areas, with the quality of education being the one that reflects how well pupils are taught. The report says: “Leaders have designed an ambitious curriculum that ensures pupils can and do achieve well.”

Inspectors were impressed with the way pupils are developed across their five years in the school noting that they celebrate diversity, feel comfortable to be themselves and respect differences between people.

Mr Larkin added: “The inspection ties in with how we see ourselves as a school. I would like to particularly thank staff for their relentless hard work and dedication towards our students, through the tough times of the pandemic and always giving of their best so that pupils can be their personal best. We never make excuses, we simply aim to be the best we can be in all we do.”

The report particularly notes “staff are proud to work at the school”.

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They are surveyed anonymously as part of the inspectors, and inspectors told the school it was the most positive staff survey they had ever seen.

An important part of judging the school’s overall effectiveness is safeguarding and this was judged to be “strong” by the inspectors.

Mr Larkin said: “While we don’t run the school for the purposes of inspection, I recognise that parents rightly want an external view of how well the school is doing. This report will give confidence into the community that in sending your child to our school, your child will be safe, happy, and well, the school will have high expectations of your child, and they will achieve well.”

The report does leave some room for improvement.

In a small number of subjects, leaders were said to be still in the process of refining what pupils will learn and when. Thie inspectors said that this hinders teachers from checking that pupils have learned what they should. Consequently, some pupils do not build on their prior learning as well as they could. Leaders should finalise their curriculum thinking so that all teachers know exactly what pupils must learn and in what order.

And some pupils were said not to have had the chance to develop their interests and talents. This was because there are a “limited range of extra-curricular opportunities available.”

The report said: “Leaders should consider the wider opportunities that they provide so that pupils can nurture their interests and talents fully.”