Worrying fall in standards at the Deepings School

Richard Lord, head teacher of The Deepings School judged by that Ofsted as 'requires improvement'.  Photo by Tim Wilson.
SG220916-123TW.
Richard Lord, head teacher of The Deepings School judged by that Ofsted as 'requires improvement'. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG220916-123TW.
  • Head admits ‘much work to do’ to turn the tide

The Deepings School has ended its year on an alarming note after Ofsted found that it “requires improvement” in all areas.

An Ofsted report, published on Wednesday after a two-day inspection last month, found standards at the school to have been “considerably below national averages for a number of years”.

There are no areas for improvement identified within the report that were not already highlighted within our own self-evaluation and there is still much work to do

Head teacher Richard Lord, The Deepings School

Teachers were criticised for not matching classroom activities to students’ abilities, “inconsistent” feedback on work, a lack of expectations for what students can achieve and allowing “low-level disruption”.

The report is a blow for the secondary school which was judged outstanding by Ofsted in 2009 and 2013.

However, Ofsted inspectors did acknowledge the work of current head teacher Richard Lord who, since joining the school in September 2016, had taken “immediate and effective action” to improve standards.

Mr Lord said: “In light of last year’s GCSE examination results (when 45 per cent of students had grade C or above in English and maths), the Ofsted judgement is consistent with our assessment of the school’s current performance.

“However, I am very heartened by the comments of the inspection team who have recognised the strides that we

continue to make as a school and it is particularly impressive that we have made such significant progress since September.”

The report acknowledged that “as a result of improved leadership in a number of areas, current pupils are making more rapid progress than previous” years.

Ofsted inspectors also found that teaching, learning and assessment were all improving, but students had not made “sufficient progress in a range of subjects in recent years”.

Mr Lord said: “I was quoted in the (Lincolnshire Free Press) last October as saying that ‘the challenge over the next two years is for the school to be consistently good in all it does’.

“In this respect, nothing has changed and we feel that we have made good progress in terms of what we set out to achieve last September.

“Encouragingly, there are no areas for improvement identified within the report that were not already highlighted within our own self-evaluation and there is still much work to do.

“But we are all fully committed to enhancing the learning experience of all our students and I would like to thank our students, parents, staff, governors and the wider Deepings community for the way in which they have embraced the many changes that have been implemented since September.

“I look forward to their continued support in the next academic year, and beyond, as we do our utmost to provide the best education possible at the Deepings School.”

The task for staff and governors at The Deepings School is clear, according to Ofsted.

In its summary, the report said: “Improve the quality of teaching, learning and assessment in all subjects, but particularly in maths.

“Until recently, leaders have not taken action to address the significant decline in standards since the last inspection (in May 2013).

“Some weak teaching and some pupils’ poor behaviour have not been challenged effectively, meaning that pupils have not made good progress in a number of areas for several years.

“The quality of teaching, learning and assessment is inconsistent across, and within, subjects and key stages where teachers do not have high enough expectations of what pupils are able to achieve.

The Deepings School is a member of the CfBT Schools Trust whose chief executive Andy Yarrow said: “This report is a fair reflection of the school’s current position, given last summer’s GCSE results.

“Richard Lord and his team have worked tirelessly throughout this year to put robust measures in place to address the areas where the school needs to improve and we are pleased that Ofsted has recognised this, along with the Trust’s effective contribution to supporting leaders in this important work.”

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