‘We’re on the right journey but it takes time,’ says head

Letters have criticised the 11-plus
Letters have criticised the 11-plus

A headteacher spoke of her pride in students and staff, following a visit from Ofsted.

An Ofsted inspector visited The Buckingham School on Friday, October 24, at just four days’ notice.

This was the second monitoring visit by Ofsted, after an inspection in December 2013 deemed the school to require improvement.

Headteacher Angela Wells said: “She came on the last day before half term and she saw a very calm, orderly and hardworking school.”

After visiting classrooms, observing lessons and scrutinising students’ books, the inspector noted improvements, including “sensible changes” to the senior team, with two new deputy headteachers and a new curriculum leader for maths in place since September.

She also noted “an effective new tracking system” which has been developed by one of the deputy heads, giving information on how well departments are performing and individual students are progressing.

The inspector said: “The information from this system is starting to be better used by leaders when they make judgements about the quality of teaching.

“In the past, these judgements have been too generous because insufficient emphasis has been placed on students’ achievement.”

Checks made on students’ books showed teachers are now consistently providing students with helpful ways to improve their work.

Key Stage 4 science students are sitting regular practice tests based on GCSE exam papers, and receiving tips from teachers on how to do better next time.

However, the inspector noted: “teachers are not helping students to answer questions that carry more marks and require them to write at length. As a result, too many students are receiving no marks for their answers.”

She said the school needs to take further action to embed changes so they lead to improved GCSE results in maths and science.

Miss Wells said she was “very proud” of both students and staff.

Miss Wells told the Advertiser: “There’s still work to be done. These are monitoring visits to see we’re on the right journey.

“She recognised the amount of work we’ve done, the improvemnts we’ve made and that needs to embed to improve the outcomes.

“We need to make sure the middle leaders make sure all teachers use the monitoring for good effect for all the children.

“In the last five years, we’ve gone through three different Ofsted on three different frameworks.

“We know we’ve got work to do and we know we’re on an improvement journey.

“But it takes time to embed the changes.”