Almost a quarter of Bolton's secondary schools 'require improvement'
ALMOST a quarter of secondary schools in Bolton now need improvement.
Harper Green School has become the latest to be placed into the category by education watchdogs.
Ofsted inspectors gave the school a grade three rating — despite finding that standards at the school were rising and pupils were making the expected progress.
But not enough children were making good progress.
Ofsted inspectors found that apart from the behaviour and safety of children — for which Harper Green was rated as good — all areas of the school were in need of improvement.
Inspectors reported: “Actions taken by the school aimed at improving students’ achievement have been successful.
“In 2013 at the end of key stage three, most students achieved national averages in English and mathematics. This shows that across the school standards are rising and students now make at least the rate of expected progress from their starting points.”
Inspectors found parents were “overwhelmingly” positive about the school.
But they also found a significant proportion of students do not reach the standards of most nationally in English and mathematics, and teaching does not sufficiently challenge students.
Headteacher Bob Flood was praised for “relentlessly” pursuing his goal to improve teaching to raise students’ attainment.
Mr Flood said: “I am pleased the report recognises the improvements that have been made in the school, particularly those that have contributed to us achieving our best ever results.
"Overall our GCSE results improved by four per cent, at a time when they went down nationally.”
He added that it was a challenging time in education, especially for comprehensive schools which teach pupils with a wide range of abilities.
Mr Flood said: “We perform well compared to other schools like ourselves.
“The report recognises that we provide exceptional support for students.”
Education chiefs said the ‘Requires Improvement’ judgement was introduced by Ofsted to replace the previous ‘satisfactory’ description.
A Bolton Council spokesman added: “Each school has responded robustly to the judgement and is committed to bringing about the improvements identified.”
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"Teachers are being crushed under the weight of paperwork"
JULIA Simpkins, secretary of the Bolton-branch of the National Union of Teachers, says teachers are losing faith in Ofsted.
She believes it is being used as a political tool, and said: “Most teachers do not like Ofsted. They do not trust Ofsted.
The grim reality is that teachers are being crushed under the weight of paperwork.
Planning, target setting for individual children, for groups and for the class as a whole.
Filling in trackers that show children’s progress. Writing individual educational plans.
Marking children’s work, even four-year-olds’ work, with a comment giving three things to improve next time.”
Ms Simpkins says Ofsted inspections do not help with children’s education.
She added: “Now headteachers are so frightened of having a poor grade from Ofsted that they impose 'mock Ofsteds' to see how teachers cope under the pressure.”
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