Disappointing Ofsted report for Alford school - but improvements are underway

A stock image of school pupils taking exams
A stock image of school pupils taking exams

An Alford secondary school head teacher has expressed her disappointment after it was downgraded from ‘Good’ to ‘Requires Improvement’ in its latest Ofsted report.

Ms Joyce Shorrock, head teacher at John Spendluffe Technology College, explained that the loss of former head teacher Steve Beverley due to ‘unforeseen health circumstances’ had led to a very difficult and emotional time for the school over the last couple of years - which had not previously been publicly documented.

However Ms Shorrock, who became permanent head teacher last October, said that plans had been implemented to address the issues that the school faces, adding that this is a ‘work in progress’ that aims to restore the school’s previous Good rating.

The latest Ofsted report, published at the end of April following an inspection in March, states that two areas of inspection (‘effectiveness of leadership and management’ and ‘personal development, behaviour and welfare’) are still considered to be good, but two other key areas (‘quality of teaching, learning and assessment’ and ‘outcomes for pupils’) require improvement.

The Ofsted report states pupils have made insufficient progress during a ‘period of turbulence’ in leadership - and accepts that standards are gradually improving.

It adds that pupils’ progress is not yet consistently strong throughout the school, particularly for boys, but notes that this is improving.

Ms Shorrock told the Leader: “The movement from an overall ‘Good’ in 2013 is a disappointment for John Spendluffe Technology College. We are a school that has been ranked as ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ since 2001.

“Whilst the headline rating may not appear as strong as previous inspections, there are many positives to be taken from the recent inspection.

“The key word which arises within the report is ‘consistency’ when it refers to the areas which need work.

“There are many areas of the overall school teaching and learning which demonstrate excellent classroom practice, but from the snapshot seen over the two day inspection this was not evidenced consistently.”

“Students and parents have the commitment of staff who will be working hard to ensure that when Ofsted return for their next inspection, they will find a consistent level of classroom teaching across the whole school which will ultimately restore the overall rating back to ‘Good’.”