Higham school placed in special measures

Ofsted
Ofsted

A school in Higham Ferrers has been placed in special measures after being given the worst possible Ofsted grade.

The Ferrers School in Queensway was graded ‘inadequate’ after being given the lowest rating in four areas out of five, just three years after it was given a grade of ‘good’.

Inspectors found safeguarding arrangements were not effective, inaccurate self-assessment and high absence rates for disadvantaged pupils.

Headteacher Angela Smith, who took on the role in September 2017, said they are fully committed to addressing the weaknesses highlighted.

She said: “Leaders and governors at the school recognise the improvements that need to be made.

“Since my appointment as headteacher, we have been working tirelessly with a resolute determination to ensure that the improvements are rapid and sustained to ensure all students attending The Ferrers School currently and in future years make excellent progress.

“Leaders at all levels are fully committed to addressing the areas for improvement identified within the Ofsted report.”

The Ofsted report, published this week, found the school’s 2017 GCSE results were ‘a shock’ and a ‘wake-up call’.

Lead inspector Rachel Tordoff said: “Leaders, including governors, have failed to create an environment where all pupils can flourish.

“Leaders were not expecting pupils’ GCSE examination results in summer 2017 to be below the government’s current floor standards.

“Inaccurate assessment and an overreliance on attainment scores rather than measures of pupils’ progress meant that leaders did not have a precise view of how well pupils were doing.

“Leaders have only recently begun to gain a secure picture of how well pupils are performing.”

The school was also heavily criticised for its safety with visitors able to freely walk in and out of the school grounds.

The report added: “Leaders and governors have not taken appropriate action to secure the school’s site.

“During lessons, visitors can access the site through an open gate and enter school buildings.”

Inspectors also found one in four pupils surveyed at the school do not feel safe.

Pupils were also found not to be making the progress they should with pupils’ behaviour ‘inadequate’.

Too many pupils arrive late for school with the rate of fixed-term exclusions too high.

However, Mrs Smith was praised for taking decisive actions to improve the school.

Inspectors also noted an improvement in behaviour since the start of the year and that leaders are now taking action to improve the quality of teaching.

The school has 1,051 pupils on its roll, of which 138 are on the school’s 16-19 study programme.