School placed in special measures

Driffield School and Sixth Form has been placed in special measures after receiving a critical report from Ofsted inspectors.

Inspectors found the school to be inadequate in areas of effectiveness of leadership and management; quality of teaching, learning and assessment; personal development, behaviour and welfare; outcomes for pupils and 16 to 19 study programmes.

Disappointed staff and governors say major steps are already being taken to address the issues raised in the report.

An action plan has been drawn up which will see the 1,800-pupil school on Manorfield Road become part of the Education Alliance – a multi academy trust led by South Hunsley School.

The Education Alliance incorporates South Hunsley School, South Hunsley Primary School and Malet Lambert School in Hull and will allow Driffield School to pull on the resources and expertise from partners within the multi academy trust to secure the necessary improvements to turn the school around.

Ofsted inspectors visited the school last month and during their visit they found that leaders and governors do not ensure that all pupils feel safe or are safe. They also do not ensure that all pupils learn to respect people who are different from themselves, which means pupils are not being prepared to be good citizens in Britain.

The report states that leaders do not make sure all staff follow the school’s policy for managing pupils’ behaviour or for dealing with incidents of bullying and they have not maintained an acceptable quality of teaching since the previous inspection in 2011. As a result, outcomes are inadequate.

Disadvantaged pupils are also not receiving the support they need to improve their attendance and behaviour. Leaders were not found to be checking whether assessments of pupils’ progress were accurate, meaning they did not have a good understanding of where support and intervention is needed.

Relationships between the school and parents was also highlighted and described as “damaged”, with parents not feeling confident that leaders have taken effective action to resolve their concerns.

The sixth form was found to be inadequate because safeguarding is ineffective across the school and sixth formers are not making the progress they are capable of to reach higher A-level grades. However inspectors did find that the majority of pupils are well meaning and considerate and want to do well at school. They appreciate and benefit from the extra opportunities the school provides for sports and drama. The report states some teaching is effective and some pastoral staff are skilled in supporting vulnerable pupils, with some parents positive about the work of the school, including parents of children who have special educational needs or disability.

The school has already seen a number of changes since the Ofsted inspection. Following the resignation of former headteacher Simon Jones, Dave McCready was appointed as interim executive headteacher until the end of the summer term.

Mr McCready, headteacher from Wolfreton School in Kirk Ella, brings a wealth of experience in supporting schools and has successfully led improvements in a number of schools across the East Riding. It is his role to implement the action plan and ensure changes are being put in place to address the issues raised, and to ensure a smooth transition to the multi academy trust from September.

He told the Wolds Weekly that he understands how shocked and disappointed students, parents and the local community will feel at the school being placed in special measures but he is confident the school can become good again. He said: “I am confident that the school has the capacity to make the rapid progress required to move out of this category. “We are working hard to bring about improvements.

There is a danger when a school is placed in special measures that people think that everything is not going well. However we know that there are good things and we need to build on that good practice alongside bringing about the changes needed to move forward.

“There is no reason why Driffield School can’t become good again and within a relatively short space of time, but we recognise some changes need to be made.

 Dave McCready who has been appointed as interim executive headteacher until the end of the summer term.
Dave McCready who has been appointed as interim executive headteacher until the end of the summer term.

“There are good policies and practices already at the school, but they were not being applied consistently and so we are insisting on the consistent application of all policies and practices throughout the school.

“This has also led to a review to all policies and practices and where change is required we will be consulting with children, staff and parents about these changes. “Improving communication between the school and parents and the local community is also key to implementing change.”

Two parent information evenings will be held on Tuesday, April 26 for parents of pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9 and on Wednesday, April 27 for parents of pupils in Years 10, 11 and the Sixth Form to inform them about the changes being made and to answer questions and concerns.

The school also intends to hold an event for parents of children in Year 6 who will be joining the school in September. Mr McCready added: “I understand that some staff and parents have concerns about academies. But being part of the Education Alliance multi academy trust will enable Driffield to pull on the expertise and good practice of an outstanding school, such as South Hunsley.

“Driffield will have access to the support, resources and staff expertise which can only complement the good staff and practices we already have here. I personally feel that this is the best solution and will enable the school to work with an outstanding provider to secure and sustain the changes required.

“The school is under close scrutiny now and there is no hiding place; we have to make improvements. I hope to give parents the confidence that things will change where needed.” He continued:

“The school continues to function as normal and this includes ensuring that all students sitting examinations this summer are fully supported over the coming term. “We need to ensure we have the whole community behind us and that we all pull together for the benefit of the greater good of the school.

“I know this is very upsetting and it must come as a shock to everybody. The publication of the report gives us the opportunity we need to move forward. There will be challenges ahead but this is to be expected and I know the staff and the governors are prepared for that challenge.

“It is vital that we all now work together to secure a brighter future for the school.”

Mike Furbank, East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s head of children and young people, education and schools, said: “Clearly the outcome of the Ofsted inspection is very disappointing, but major steps are already in place to address the issues raised.

“Dave McCready has taken on the role of interim headteacher and the council is continuing, with external partner schools, to provide a high level of support to Driffield School while an urgent programme of action is implemented to secure the necessary improvements.”

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