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Ofsted underlines challenge ahead at Rainford High
THE level of improvement still required at a secondary school that has undergone a turbulent year has been underlined by Ofsted inspectors.
Watchdogs made a two day visit to Rainford High Technology College just a fortnight into the headship of new principal Ian Young.
The findings that the school “requires improvement” reinforces the challenge facing the headmaster, who has stated his ambition to make Rainford “outstanding”.
There are positives for school bosses to take from the report, with the behaviour and achievement of pupils ranked as good.
However, inspectors said it must make progress in a series of areas, including teaching, leadership and management.
The school is not good overall, concluded the report.
Among the findings are that teaching, particularly in years seven and nine does not extend pupils’ learning.
Progress of some students is said to “slow” because teachers do not consistently plan lessens to deepen understanding.
Evaluation of quality of teaching by subject leaders is limited and future plans for improvements do not have sufficiently clear timescales.
Inspectors also state that a policy to develop literacy, maths and communication skills has yet to be developed.
Strengths of Rainford were identified too, with students behaving well and having a positive attitude towards learning.
School bosses are taking decisive action to improve leadership and better teaching has already impacted on achievement, the inspection found.
The sixth form is also described as “good”.
The “requires improvement” grade was introduced by the Government to replace the “satisfactory” ranking that Ofsted inspector previously used in their four tier assessment scale.
In fact Rainford had achieved the same level three grade during its last inspection in March 2011.
In a letter to parents, Mr Young said he believes inspectors identified “significant progress since the last inspection” and “contains many positive comments”.
He wrote: “The report clearly identifies that the school requires improvement, but that it is well placed to improve as a result of recent initiatives to improve teaching and learning.
“I am confident that we can build on this positive progress and create an outstanding school for our young people and the local community.”
The school, which is undergoing a £25million rebuilding programme, has endured a rollercoaster 12 months.
Principal, Ruth Greenwood and vice-principal, Sam Wells were suspended while investigations were taking place, though St Helens Council said their decisions to later resign had been “for personal reasons”.
However, after temporary heads were brought in, pupils went on to achieve record A-level and GCSE results in the summer.