Bishop Stopford School 'extremely disappointed' after Ofsted grades them as requires improvement

An Ofsted report was published today
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Kettering’s Bishop Stopford School has been told it must improve by Ofsted – but its headteacher says she is ‘extremely disappointed’ by the watchdog’s judgement.

The Headlands school was graded as requires improvement in a report published today (Wednesday), having been outstanding since 2008.

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Inspectors found that work needed to be done on behaviour and attitudes, personal development and leadership at the Church of England school, which converted to academy status in 2011.

Bishop Stopford SchoolBishop Stopford School
Bishop Stopford School

But headteacher Jill Silverthorne said the report ‘simply does not recognise their strengths’.

She said: “We are enormously proud of our school: our staff team is incredibly strong and our students are settled and highly engaged. This – coupled with great support from home – is why they achieve so well. As a result, the Ofsted report published today is extremely disappointing. The judgements on the quality of education and provision for sixth form are good, but we are very disappointed by the other judgements.

"We are proud of the positive aspects of school life highlighted in the report. However, it simply does not recognise our enormous strengths, particularly in terms of the all-round care, guidance and support we offer, the phenomenal range of high quality enrichment opportunities, nor the commitment of our students to their learning.

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"The impact of these strengths is seen yet again this year in examination outcomes, which continue to be excellent...GCSE results place us in the top three per cent of schools nationally and 43 per cent of all A-Level grades awarded were A and A*. We will continue to work tirelessly to fulfil our intent for the young people entrusted to our care and look forward to welcoming Ofsted back at the earliest opportunity.”

Inspectors said the school is ‘unapologetically academic’ and that leaders have high expectations of what pupils should achieve. They said subject leaders have a clear vision of what they want pupils to learn, that the majority of pupils feel safe and that sixth-form pupils achieve well.

But they said that not all teachers deliver the curriculum consistently well in all subjects, that personal development for Year 10 and 11 pupils is not sufficient and that pupils don’t always feel confident to report concerns about bullying and inappropriate language.

Lead Ofsted inspector Roxanne Fearns-Davies said: “As a result, leaders do not always know about, and therefore cannot respond to, pupils’ concerns. Leaders need to create a culture where pupils feel confident in reporting concerns in the knowledge that they will be dealt with effectively.”

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The report also found that the school, which has almost 1,500 pupils, does not currently record and share all safeguarding information effectively.

Bishop Stopford School had been inspected in June but the report’s publication was withheld until today after a formal complaint was lodged by the school.

A letter to parents, seen by the Northants Telegraph, said the school was concerned that aspects of the conduct of the inspection didn’t align with school inspection handbook requirements and that the evidence base was ‘questionable’ in terms of its validity and reliability.

The letter said that Ofsted made 18 changes to the text of the report – but that the school was disappointed that its judgements didn’t change.

The school is holding drop-in sessions for parents to discuss any concerns.