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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

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Inspector says Barrow school is improving - report

THE education watchdog has recognised improvements are being made at a Barrow secondary school graded “inadequate” in December.

Ofsted returned to St Bernard’s Catholic High School this month for the first monitoring visit since the school was judged to have “serious weaknesses”.

The outcome of the latest visit has now been released, and Her Majesty’s Inspector Aelwyn Pugh says the Barrow school’s action plan and the local authority’s statement of action are “fit for purpose”.

The letter says St Bernard’s headteacher Mary Page, the governors and staff have a “shared determination to ensure it becomes good by September 2015.”

Mr Pugh says the most recent evaluations show “improvements in the quality of teaching, progress and attainment and a reduction in exclusions, misbehaviour and absences.”

He said: “The students said they had seen clear improvements since the inspection, in terms of behaviour in class, the quality of marking, the readiness of teachers to provide additional support to those who are struggling with their work, and the range and variety of activities included in lessons.”

In December, Ofsted told St Bernard’s improvement particularly needed to be made in the English department. Mr Pugh says a considerable amount of time has been devoted to bringing about improvements within the department.

He said there has been considerable support for this from the local authority and external consultants and, from the autumn term, there will be a fully-staffed department.

But he added: “It will be a considerable challenge to bring about the necessary improvements within the set timescale.”

Two new English teachers have been appointed, and a new head of English, who will also be an assistant headteacher, takes up the post in September. St Bernard’s also has two new deputy headteachers and the senior leadership has been restructured and extended.

Mrs Page said: “The letter highlights we have made improvements since the first inspection when we were graded inadequate. It also recognises we have a lot to do but the fact we are all up for the challenge.”

lSee more in a School Report special in Wednesday’s Evening Mail.

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