St Helens schools in crisis

St Helens Star: Ofsted's latest inspection called St Augustine of Canterbury 'inadequate' Ofsted's latest inspection called St Augustine of Canterbury 'inadequate'

THE problems surrounding the state of secondary education in the town have deepened after a Catholic high school was deemed “inadequate” by Ofsted inspectors.

St Augustine of Canterbury School at Blackbrook was judged to have “serious weaknesses” following a visit by the education watchdog.

The achievement of pupils and quality of teaching were both judged “inadequate”, while management and leadership both require improvement.

The poor report comes just weeks after Michael Cladingbowl, Ofsted’s regional director for the North West, criticised the state of secondary education in St Helens.

His report stated just 47per cent of pupils in the borough attended a secondary school that is ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’, meaning the town is lagging behind neighbouring boroughs and cities.

There is alarm about why the standard of education is generally good at primary level before dipping in St Helens high schools.

The town does not have one outstanding high school, though Haydock, Rainhill and Cowley were ranked as good following the most recent inspections.

St Augustine’s disappointing report will increase the pressure on education bosses and head teachers to ensure schools raise their game.

The Boardmans Lane school is criticised by Ofsted for underachievement among pupils at GCSE level, particularly in English, while not enough teaching is consistently good.

Marking of work does not help students know how to improve and learning activities are not always imaginative and relevant enough to ensure pupils’ understanding is deepened.

Brighter news for the school is that behaviour and safety of pupils is regarded as good. Bullying is rare, pupils feel safe and their spiritual, moral and social development is also good.

Head teacher Linda Mousdale and governors are said to have taken decisive action to deal with weaknesses among teachers, which has led to improvements, particularly in maths. In response, St Helens Council and the Liverpool Archdiocese said they believe weaknesses are already being addressed but added that external support would aim to hasten progress.

A joint statement read: “The report recognises that the leadership at the school are already taking decisive action and, as a result, teaching and achievement are improving. We know the staff at the school are working hard to turn things around, but we will also be introducing measures to speed up improvements.

“Both the council and the Archdiocese are already working closely with the school to strengthen the support we provide – and have brought in an excellent and highly-regarded former HM Inspector to work with schools – including St Augustine’s – that need help.

“Other ‘outstanding’ schools across the north west have also been identified and will be bringing their expertise to bear at schools in St Helens, along with specialist leaders in subjects like English and maths.

“We will also be working with school governors to strengthen their roles in enhancing school performance.

“Our School Improvement Team has evolved over the past 12 months to respond to changing requirements. This includes seconding outstanding head teachers to support our schools – enhancing the team’s reach, powers and commitment.”

A task force – commissioned by St Helens Council – is reviewing the health of education across the borough after the need for improvements were made a priority last year.

The council stressed that the regional director does not take account of the fact that A-level results in St Helens are good and many children are the first in their families to go to university.

Comments (14)

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6:56pm Fri 3 Jan 14

peterxu says...

I do not think so. St Augustine of Canterbury School is very good and the kids are happy and confidence. And majority of the schools in St Helens are doing very well.
I do not think so. St Augustine of Canterbury School is very good and the kids are happy and confidence. And majority of the schools in St Helens are doing very well. peterxu
  • Score: -4

11:32pm Fri 3 Jan 14

barrie timpson says...

Well ,clearly not. Three of them are doing "good" , but this one in particular is...well hopeless.
Well ,clearly not. Three of them are doing "good" , but this one in particular is...well hopeless. barrie timpson
  • Score: -1

12:26pm Sat 4 Jan 14

Bill Bradbury says...

barrie timpson wrote:
Well ,clearly not. Three of them are doing "good" , but this one in particular is...well hopeless.
Barry, St.Augustine's is suffering the same fate as DLS (a report last year) as Ofsted has moved the goalposts in order to give Gove the excuse to grab them as an Academy out of Local Authority control, in effect private schools free to do as they wish what the Tories call "the dead hand of the Local Authority". Fortunately neither school is to suffer the same fate (yet) as the High school where I am a governor (not in St.helens) being forced into becoming an Academy because that LA threw down a challenge to Gove that they opposed them. So despite the HMI saying our "plan" is robust and likely to sort any weaknesses with same staff, same leadership and same Governors, by sticking the Word "Academy" behind our title all will be well. We now have no say in the matter except with whom we "shack up"-not Carphone Warehouse I hope. The Vultures are circling!

These Ofsted "rotweillers" being sent into schools to do the Government's bidding, most retired heads who have never darkened a classroom for years and charging a lot of money in the process, are looking for any excuse to fail a school, usually exam results or finding one or two lessons not good which damns the rest of the school and many and majority of teachers who are producing outstanding lessons as there will be at Augustines..

I would wish every success to St.Augustines who I am sure will sort things out providing Ofsted does not move the goalposts again (i.e. They were told to hammer those schools who were outstanding reducing them to "Good" or less) The word "satisfactory" is now deemed as poor such is the double speak. My limited Latin knowledge the word "satis" means enough but in ofsted terms "not enough".

Education is getting into a mess by Political interference and in my humble opinion the whole syllabus and curriculum on what is taught is in dire need of new direction. Do we teach pupils what they ought to know or what the need to know? What goes round comes around as we read last year the College touting for 14-16 pupils probably offering vocational courses as Grange park did in the 50's Remember pupils before ROSLA could leave school at 14 usually going into apprenticeships. Now we are hearing voices to return to selection and the Grammar school system great if you are successful but not as one becomes a 2nd. class pupil designated a failure. ( I don't wish to stray into that debate as it's off topic but I just make the point)

As I have written many times on this site after over 40 years in the profession and in Governance, we have still not getting it right---according to Ofsted, despite many "reports" on Education. (Crowther, Robbins, Warnock, ROSLA ) to mention a few.

When schools publish the results under the "one sitting exam" structure we will see how many A* -C's they will get when the multiple sitting of an exam ceases. The Ofsted "rotweillers" will think it's Christmas if exam results are down. We will see. Why do we judge schools and pupils on results not on what they make of whatever talents they have which may be not academic?
Schools ought to be more than this developing every child not judging them on exam results. I just despair at the system. Why do I bother?
[quote][p][bold]barrie timpson[/bold] wrote: Well ,clearly not. Three of them are doing "good" , but this one in particular is...well hopeless.[/p][/quote]Barry, St.Augustine's is suffering the same fate as DLS (a report last year) as Ofsted has moved the goalposts in order to give Gove the excuse to grab them as an Academy out of Local Authority control, in effect private schools free to do as they wish what the Tories call "the dead hand of the Local Authority". Fortunately neither school is to suffer the same fate (yet) as the High school where I am a governor (not in St.helens) being forced into becoming an Academy because that LA threw down a challenge to Gove that they opposed them. So despite the HMI saying our "plan" is robust and likely to sort any weaknesses with same staff, same leadership and same Governors, by sticking the Word "Academy" behind our title all will be well. We now have no say in the matter except with whom we "shack up"-not Carphone Warehouse I hope. The Vultures are circling! These Ofsted "rotweillers" being sent into schools to do the Government's bidding, most retired heads who have never darkened a classroom for years and charging a lot of money in the process, are looking for any excuse to fail a school, usually exam results or finding one or two lessons not good which damns the rest of the school and many and majority of teachers who are producing outstanding lessons as there will be at Augustines.. I would wish every success to St.Augustines who I am sure will sort things out providing Ofsted does not move the goalposts again (i.e. They were told to hammer those schools who were outstanding reducing them to "Good" or less) The word "satisfactory" is now deemed as poor such is the double speak. My limited Latin knowledge the word "satis" means enough but in ofsted terms "not enough". Education is getting into a mess by Political interference and in my humble opinion the whole syllabus and curriculum on what is taught is in dire need of new direction. Do we teach pupils what they ought to know or what the need to know? What goes round comes around as we read last year the College touting for 14-16 pupils probably offering vocational courses as Grange park did in the 50's Remember pupils before ROSLA could leave school at 14 usually going into apprenticeships. Now we are hearing voices to return to selection and the Grammar school system great if you are successful but not as one becomes a 2nd. class pupil designated a failure. ( I don't wish to stray into that debate as it's off topic but I just make the point) As I have written many times on this site after over 40 years in the profession and in Governance, we have still not getting it right---according to Ofsted, despite many "reports" on Education. (Crowther, Robbins, Warnock, ROSLA ) to mention a few. When schools publish the results under the "one sitting exam" structure we will see how many A* -C's they will get when the multiple sitting of an exam ceases. The Ofsted "rotweillers" will think it's Christmas if exam results are down. We will see. Why do we judge schools and pupils on results not on what they make of whatever talents they have which may be not academic? Schools ought to be more than this developing every child not judging them on exam results. I just despair at the system. Why do I bother? Bill Bradbury
  • Score: 7

4:58pm Sat 4 Jan 14

barrie timpson says...

Bill , I trust ofsted. I use their reports when choosing education for my children , the reports have not let me down yet.

As for results - perhaps after years of Blair's education education education , society has been dumbed down sufficiently enough that we can't spot double speak? 1984 is an excellent novel - and very relevant !
Bill , I trust ofsted. I use their reports when choosing education for my children , the reports have not let me down yet. As for results - perhaps after years of Blair's education education education , society has been dumbed down sufficiently enough that we can't spot double speak? 1984 is an excellent novel - and very relevant ! barrie timpson
  • Score: 5

11:11pm Sat 4 Jan 14

Bill Bradbury says...

Barrie, An Ofsted report I have recently read says one thing in the areas of so called weaknesses and every one is contradicted later in the report.

Ofsted makes its mind up well before they set foot in the school. They just read the Raise on Line data and any Blue, or heaven forbid a red, then you are in serious trouble.
As for Labour's Education policy can you tell me what it is? I haven't a clue!! Politicians have ruined Education,most ot the current lot attended Eton, Harrow and other Private schools. Not a clue what goes on in the real education world.
Barrie, An Ofsted report I have recently read says one thing in the areas of so called weaknesses and every one is contradicted later in the report. Ofsted makes its mind up well before they set foot in the school. They just read the Raise on Line data and any Blue, or heaven forbid a red, then you are in serious trouble. As for Labour's Education policy can you tell me what it is? I haven't a clue!! Politicians have ruined Education,most ot the current lot attended Eton, Harrow and other Private schools. Not a clue what goes on in the real education world. Bill Bradbury
  • Score: 8

10:03am Sun 5 Jan 14

barrie timpson says...

Well we have plummeted in the world leagues , before that we were doing just dandy?
Well we have plummeted in the world leagues , before that we were doing just dandy? barrie timpson
  • Score: 2

10:04am Sun 5 Jan 14

chasmcn says...

barrie timpson wrote:
Bill , I trust ofsted. I use their reports when choosing education for my children , the reports have not let me down yet.

As for results - perhaps after years of Blair's education education education , society has been dumbed down sufficiently enough that we can't spot double speak? 1984 is an excellent novel - and very relevant !
Pit its all down to the parents your children will do well as you will support the teacher and the school in educating your child and at home you will help in their education sadly many parents think that school is enough and wont go that extra yard themselves in teaching or helping their children with home work etc taking them to interesting places stimulating their minds too many with the Xbox and PS4 sadly.

As for Ofsted Bill is right they have a preset agenda i believe this school as been told one thing verbally and when the offical report was delivered nothing like what was said verbally .

As a side note my son teaches in Sth Korea the BBC news had a camera crew going round a school in Sth Korea during a sypke chat with him i mentioned the BBC news article he asked were in Sth Korea they had visited i told him it was in Gangnam Seoul he replied Gangnam was Seoul's Chelsea or Kensington not really a typical Sth Korean area then the BBC showed young children getting on a bus going to night school he asked did they say that only the rich do that as its fee paying and not available to most Sth Koreans no the BBC did not say that they made it look like its was the norm , politics is being played with our childrens education and it should not be .
[quote][p][bold]barrie timpson[/bold] wrote: Bill , I trust ofsted. I use their reports when choosing education for my children , the reports have not let me down yet. As for results - perhaps after years of Blair's education education education , society has been dumbed down sufficiently enough that we can't spot double speak? 1984 is an excellent novel - and very relevant ![/p][/quote]Pit its all down to the parents your children will do well as you will support the teacher and the school in educating your child and at home you will help in their education sadly many parents think that school is enough and wont go that extra yard themselves in teaching or helping their children with home work etc taking them to interesting places stimulating their minds too many with the Xbox and PS4 sadly. As for Ofsted Bill is right they have a preset agenda i believe this school as been told one thing verbally and when the offical report was delivered nothing like what was said verbally . As a side note my son teaches in Sth Korea the BBC news had a camera crew going round a school in Sth Korea during a sypke chat with him i mentioned the BBC news article he asked were in Sth Korea they had visited i told him it was in Gangnam Seoul he replied Gangnam was Seoul's Chelsea or Kensington not really a typical Sth Korean area then the BBC showed young children getting on a bus going to night school he asked did they say that only the rich do that as its fee paying and not available to most Sth Koreans no the BBC did not say that they made it look like its was the norm , politics is being played with our childrens education and it should not be . chasmcn
  • Score: 0

11:15am Sun 5 Jan 14

barrie timpson says...

Funny you should say that , I did a module on Gangnam on my degree !
Funny you should say that , I did a module on Gangnam on my degree ! barrie timpson
  • Score: 0

11:40am Sun 5 Jan 14

Bill Bradbury says...

Barrie PISA League table is full of anomollies not comparing like with like. Even the much vaunted Finland Education had slipped down the table. You have swallowed totally the "target" mentality which is ruining the NHS and Education. So you "order" children/schools by exam results? Not all are academically able but go on in life making the best of what they have.
As a special needs teacher all my life I recognise the progress they made and meet some who have made excellent parents and holding down a job. That is success in my mind not how many A* they get. Some are Obsessed by results especially Ofsted who focus on this doing Gove's bidding to get as many into the Academy fold as they can.

At least they have learnt one lesson. They don't choose very bad schools as no "sponsor" wants to take them on but are now choosing schools that they know full well via their development plan they will succeed but of course because they now have the word Academy after them that is why they do. As I wrote earlier, same plan, same leadership, same teachers, same pupils, same Governors. It's a "magic" word.
Barrie PISA League table is full of anomollies not comparing like with like. Even the much vaunted Finland Education had slipped down the table. You have swallowed totally the "target" mentality which is ruining the NHS and Education. So you "order" children/schools by exam results? Not all are academically able but go on in life making the best of what they have. As a special needs teacher all my life I recognise the progress they made and meet some who have made excellent parents and holding down a job. That is success in my mind not how many A* they get. Some are Obsessed by results especially Ofsted who focus on this doing Gove's bidding to get as many into the Academy fold as they can. At least they have learnt one lesson. They don't choose very bad schools as no "sponsor" wants to take them on but are now choosing schools that they know full well via their development plan they will succeed but of course because they now have the word Academy after them that is why they do. As I wrote earlier, same plan, same leadership, same teachers, same pupils, same Governors. It's a "magic" word. Bill Bradbury
  • Score: 5

3:47pm Sun 5 Jan 14

smith&weston says...

Isn't there a Director of Education, sitting in the town hall with a nice salary, paid for by the council tax payers of St Helens and shouldn't they be answerable for this mess ?
Isn't there a Director of Education, sitting in the town hall with a nice salary, paid for by the council tax payers of St Helens and shouldn't they be answerable for this mess ? smith&weston
  • Score: 10

5:22pm Sun 5 Jan 14

peterxu says...

A lot of people did not go to university still became great person later. Judge school is good or bad on academic performance is totally wrong.
A lot of people did not go to university still became great person later. Judge school is good or bad on academic performance is totally wrong. peterxu
  • Score: 1

5:38pm Sun 5 Jan 14

peterxu says...

Please do some research into the high suicide rate of children in the countries where they are pushed to succeed.....like Japan.
Our children do NOT exist for the benefit of the state....unlike China.
Our children do NOT exist for the benefit of the corporate machine.
I would rather have a happy child than a smart one.
If my kids grow up to nothing more than a road sweeper or a kitchen porter then as long as they are happy, I am happy.
Children are NOT an exam machine.
Take your high pressure teaching techniques and shove 'em where the sun don't shine.
Please do some research into the high suicide rate of children in the countries where they are pushed to succeed.....like Japan. Our children do NOT exist for the benefit of the state....unlike China. Our children do NOT exist for the benefit of the corporate machine. I would rather have a happy child than a smart one. If my kids grow up to nothing more than a road sweeper or a kitchen porter then as long as they are happy, I am happy. Children are NOT an exam machine. Take your high pressure teaching techniques and shove 'em where the sun don't shine. peterxu
  • Score: 6

9:23pm Sun 5 Jan 14

barrie timpson says...

Steven makes a good point - parents must take some of the blame?
Steven makes a good point - parents must take some of the blame? barrie timpson
  • Score: 3

11:00pm Sun 5 Jan 14

Bill Bradbury says...

barrie timpson wrote:
Steven makes a good point - parents must take some of the blame?
Right again barrie. This story was told to me of a teacher in a St.Helens school-hard to believe but true. A very young reception given a book and looked at it as an i-pad trying to "finger move" the pictures then threw it down. Did not comprehend you turn pages and read the words.
Some parents throw them into school with the attitude "we have done our bit you do yours" taking no interest in either speaking or reading to them. Then we wonder why Ofsted comes in wanting to know why their language and writing skills are poor. Some children go home get stuck in front of their tTV or i-pad/games app. and no conversaation or social interaction takes place. Parents that do talk send their offspring into school "fully loaded" with language and surprise surprise in those leafy areas schools do well. Your point well made Barrie.

A recent ITV Thursday early evening programme showed this that when the kids were given an I-pad they all sat alone and apart fully occupied (a very good way to keep them quiet at home) but then were put in a room with conventional toys where very soon they were all talking and interacting.
[quote][p][bold]barrie timpson[/bold] wrote: Steven makes a good point - parents must take some of the blame?[/p][/quote]Right again barrie. This story was told to me of a teacher in a St.Helens school-hard to believe but true. A very young reception given a book and looked at it as an i-pad trying to "finger move" the pictures then threw it down. Did not comprehend you turn pages and read the words. Some parents throw them into school with the attitude "we have done our bit you do yours" taking no interest in either speaking or reading to them. Then we wonder why Ofsted comes in wanting to know why their language and writing skills are poor. Some children go home get stuck in front of their tTV or i-pad/games app. and no conversaation or social interaction takes place. Parents that do talk send their offspring into school "fully loaded" with language and surprise surprise in those leafy areas schools do well. Your point well made Barrie. A recent ITV Thursday early evening programme showed this that when the kids were given an I-pad they all sat alone and apart fully occupied (a very good way to keep them quiet at home) but then were put in a room with conventional toys where very soon they were all talking and interacting. Bill Bradbury
  • Score: 6

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