A Chester high school has had a ‘good’ report from Ofsted, three years after being judged to ‘require improvement’.
The finding follows a two-day inspection of Blacon High on Melbourne Avenue by HMI Susan Wareing and two inspectors.
In the last inspection in 2013, Ofsted felt that not enough students were doing as well as they could, especially the most able and not enough teaching being consistently good and outstanding.
In this latest report, Ms Wareing says headteacher Susan Yates, supported by ‘very capable’ senior leaders and governors, is determined to make Blacon the best school it can be.
Teaching is good as is the personal development, behaviour and welfare of the 395 students which is ‘well supported by the school’s caring ethos'.
Pupils currently in the school are now making good progress in English and mathematics and in most other subjects as a result of ‘very effective’ steps being taken although last year the progress of all pupils in mathematics was significantly below average.
But they concluded that current pupils in Key Stage 4 (Year 9 to Year 11) continue to make good overall progress across a range of subjects.
Previous gaps in progress between different groups of pupils are closing rapidly while the progress of disabled pupils and those who have special educational needs is ‘exceptionally good’.
Pupils’ social, moral, spiritual and cultural development are strengths of the school.
The behaviour of pupils is good and the ‘vast majority’ are keen and attentive in class and disruption is rare.
Attendance has improved ‘dramatically’ since the previous inspection from being in the lowest 10% of all schools in 2014 to just below the national average, said to be ‘a significant achievement’ and a reflection of the ‘relentless work’ of the attendance team.
Pupils enter Blacon High with standards that are ‘significantly below the national average’ and with ‘significant deficits’ in reading and especially in writing.
Parents who responded to Parent View, Ofsted’s online questionnaire, were ‘overwhelmingly positive’ about all aspects of the school’s work and would recommend the school to other parents.
The report reveals senior leaders and governors at Blacon High have not shied away from moving teachers on if they fail to improve their practice after ‘sharply focused’ professional development.
It is said to be ‘a great place to study’ with enthusiasm and commitment to achieving the very best outcomes for all students and a drive for continuous improvement.
The inspectors had pointed out the school can now build on the outstanding teaching that already exists with teachers having high expectations of students.
Mrs Yates said: “This report evidences what we see every day. I am proud to be headteacher of this school. I am proud of our students and I am proud of our staff.
“Our goal is to be an outstanding learning community and this will happen in our new school.”
The state of the art new Blacon High, costing £11.5m and with a capacity of 600, will welcome new students in September.
A statement from the school concluded : “This fantastic Ofsted report is well deserved and is the culmination of five years’ work by headteacher Sue Yates and the entire team of staff and governors at Blacon High School.
“It offers a great platform from which even greater student outcomes will be achieved and we are all excited to watch as the school continues on its journey to ‘outstanding.’”
To mark the report and the move to the new building Blacon High is to host a dinner dance and charity auction at the school on Friday April 1 to be attended Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress Hugo and Deb Deynem.
To find out more about the event contact: email@example.com.