PUPILS at a school which has been told it requires improvement by Ofsted are in a “learning lottery” depending on which teacher they get, say inspectors.
The mixed quality of teaching at Rainford High Technology College has been criticised by the regulatory body which said that it is not good enough to “ensure rapid progress for all students”.
The inspection took place over two days in February, covering 53 lessons, with the behaviour and safety of pupils the only area which doesn’t need to raise its game.
The ‘requires improvement’ ranking by Ofsted is the same as the last visit in September 2012, but inspectors do add that Principal Ian Young understands very clearly where Rainford needs to get better and has put in place measures to do so.
However, though some teaching is improving, they say “it is no easy ride” for him.
Inspectors say some teachers have struggled with the ideas and have been slow to respond.
Consequently, although the marking of pupils’ work has improved and more are having their work assessed, it remains inconsistent.
Teachers at sixth form level are of a similar standard to the rest of the school but do not ensure that all students make as much progress as they should in every subject.
Another aspect of the report is the widening gap in achievements between poorer pupils and their classmates.
The progress of those deemed ‘lower-ability’ is also said to be too slow.
The Ofsted team, led by Anthony Briggs, highlighted several strengths, including that overall achievement by students by the end of Year 11 is significantly above the national average.
Governors have an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the school and hold “leaders to account” effectively.
The behaviour of pupils was singled out for praise and were said to be “naturally considerate and respectful” with a “genuine pride in their work”.
To carry out the necessary improvements the school must improve the quality of teaching, speed up the progress of the ‘lower-ability students and enable staff to use any information to pinpoint potential underachievement as soon as possible.