LEADERS at St Monica's High School have released the following statement after being placed in special measures.

"St Monica’s RC High School was inspected by Ofsted in January 2018 and the final report has now been published.

The inspection was carried out as a ‘no notice’ inspection on the second day of the new term and, as a result, there was no opportunity to notify parents of the inspection and the Inspectors did not seek the views of parents in formulating their judgement on the performance of the school.

Headteacher Mrs Hainsworth said that this is regrettable as we believe all our community should be able to have their views represented when evaluating our school.

Compared to previous inspections the focus of the assessment has shifted from attainment, as evidenced by examination grades, to the progress that pupils have made in their 5 years at the school.

Much of this assessment is also based on data that was published a few days before the inspection before the start of the new term.

Ofsted has found the school to be inadequate in the delivery of teaching and learning, in particular with regard to progress in maths, boys’ progress and the progress made by children with special needs as a group.

For this reason, the school is to be put into special measures.

School placed in special measures

Mrs Hainsworth said that most of these issues had previously been identified by school leaders and governors as areas where significant improvements need to be made with measures having already been identified in the School Improvement Plan to try and address these issues.

However, the new data published in January and Ofsted’s findings mean that measures will need to be accelerated and additional measures brought into place to remedy these weaknesses as quickly as possible.

Mrs Hainsworth stated that governors had fed back to Ofsted that they consider the inadequate judgement unduly harsh but we acknowledge that there are significant areas for improvement.

The Senior Leadership began work on the day after the inspection on an Action Plan for working on these priorities and meetings have been held with representatives of the Diocese Education Office and Bury Council to put in place additional support and staff training to help ensure that standards are raised across the board.

Our particular areas of focus are:

•To improve the progress and performance of pupils in mathematics. This work was already in hand and, at the time of the inspection, an advert had already been placed seeking maths teachers to replace staff who left at Christmas. This has now resulted in the appointment of two highly experienced specialist teachers to bring additional skills and hopefully end a period of resourcing volatility in the department.

•To rapidly improve the quality of teaching and learning across the school to ensure progress is improved by all pupils but especially by boys, pupils who have SEN / disabilities and disadvantaged pupils.

•To eradicate incidences of low level disruption in classes that hinder progress.

•Ensuring that the senior and middle leaders in the school are supported and developed to ensure the required improvements are made and sustained and that governors fulfil their role in holding leaders to account

•A review of governance will also be carried out to ensure that the governing body is doing all that it can to support and challenge staff through this difficult process.

The Ofsted inspectors recognised some of St Monica’s many positive attributes, including:

•The curriculum supports pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.

•Pupils make better progress in music, physical education, humanities and modern foreign languages.

•Girls make good progress in English.

•Pupils feel safe; bullying is very rare.

We would also highlight that the school performance tables show at St Monica’s 74 per cent of pupils secure a grade 9 -4 for English maths against a national average of 63.9 per cent and 96 per cent of our pupils stay in education or employment two years after leaving St Monica’s against a national average of 94 per cent

In the report, Ofsted confirm that the careers curriculum is strong, and pupils are extremely well supported to progress onto the next stage of their education and training and recognise the work we are doing to improve behaviour and the authority as a whole are working to support all schools to reduce exclusions.

Ofsted have themselves identified that 2017 marks a year of significant changes to GCSE examinations and directed that Inspectors should not compare results from last year with results this year for the new GCSEs.

However, whilst there is some recognition of these attributes Mr Singleton, Chair of the Governing Body, commented that governors do not consider that appropriate weight has been given to the school’s many strengths.

Mr Singleton said “We have misgivings about the lack of balance in the report and the very negative tone of much of the language used. Many of the issues which need to be tackled had already been identified and discussed as part of the Head Teacher appointment process last October. We question the fairness of Ofsted’s judgement as to the capacity of the new head and leadership team to deal with these challenges when she had only been in post for one half term at the time of the inspection.”

Governors have been advised that there may be grounds for a complaint to be made about some aspects of the inspection and report but that this is unlikely to result in any changes to the key judgements made by Ofsted.

Mr Singleton commented that, whilst he expects that governors will consider this option, the priority now must be to remedy the weaknesses in teaching and learning.

Governors are fully aware that the outcome of the inspection will be a shock to our parents and will be extremely disappointing for all the children and families that we serve. Our focus should be on putting matters right and rebuilding their confidence in St Monica’s. As a collective team, the teachers, senior leaders and governors are determined to ensure St. Monica’s recovers from our current position by putting the welfare and education of our pupils at the heart of everything we do."