Address pupils' behaviour urgently, Ofsted tells Irthlingborough school

Inspectors heard derogatory language and witnessed aggressive behaviour

By Sam Wildman
Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 3:27 pm
Updated Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 3:28 pm
Huxlow Science College.
Huxlow Science College.

Leaders at Irthlingborough's Huxlow Science College have been told to up their game when it comes to pupils' behaviour after an Ofsted visit.

The education watchdog attended the Finedon Road school in March, identifying concerns after issues had been raised with them.

They found leaders and those responsible for governance should 'urgently' address weaknesses in pupils’ behaviour after observing 'several instances' of pupils disrupting learning.

A report by inspector Chris Stevens, published this month, said: "On some occasions, inspectors saw pupils displaying disrespectful behaviour towards members of staff. This behaviour often went unchallenged.

"Staff do not consistently apply the school’s policy for managing behaviour. Leaders’ records show that high numbers of pupils are removed from lessons because of poor behaviour.

"Leaders’ safety measures for Covid-19 have reduced the amount of social space available to pupils. However, during social time, inspectors saw and heard several instances of loud and boisterous behaviour. In some cases, the behaviour of pupils was aggressive.

"Inspectors also heard examples of pupils using derogatory language. Staff do not consistently challenge these behaviours. When they do, pupils sometimes ignore staff’s requests to moderate their behaviour."

In the short inspection inspectors found pupils are not consistently punctual either to lessons or when arriving at school in the morning.

But they did find the school's safeguarding arrangements were effective, with pupils feeling safe in school, and that bullying was not an issue.

They also highlighted that relationships between staff and pupils are typically friendly.

The 'no formal designation' inspection does not alter the school's Ofsted rating of 'good', which it received in 2016.

Acting headteacher Kim Isaksen said: "As the visit took place shortly after pupils returned to school, we understand that some of this will be related to settling back in and adapting to the changes in school following a period of significant disruption.

"However, we are clear that we have high expectations of everyone in the school and need to maintain the high standards of behaviour and attitudes that inspectors saw at our last inspection.

"We had already introduced new systems and processes to help us maintain these high standards, and as we move back towards a more normal way of working and restrictions begin to ease, we fully expect to see these have a positive impact on behaviour.

"As students returned to the classroom again after the Easter holidays, we are already seeing significant improvements across the school. We will continue to focus on this and will also be launching focused mentoring and wellbeing sessions with small groups of students, staff training and increased staff and parent voice opportunities to test the impact of these.

"We always work closely with other good and outstanding schools throughout the region and will continue to benchmark our work against theirs to ensure we are offering the best possible education experience for our young people."