Inconsistency costs Sheffield school a ‘good’ rating

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PUPILS are making inconsistent progress at one of Sheffield’s largest secondary school - earning it a ‘satisfactory’ rating from inspectors.

Meadowhead School failed to achieve ‘good’ status because pupils’ levels of achievement were found to be variable, their latest Ofsted report says.

The quality of teaching also varied - it was generally satisfactory, although some good and outstanding lessons were also seen.

As a result, not all the pupils were making the same rates of progress, holding some of them back - although younger students were doing better in English and maths.

However, inspectors say lessons were not being planned well enough to ensure they met all of the pupils’ abilities, and the marking did not guide them well enough on how to improve their work and accelerate their progress.

Inspectors found the youngsters felt safe, enjoyed coming to school and had positive attitudes to learning.

The pupils’ behaviour was found to be good and some of the older students were fully trained to help the younger ones as peer mentors.

Bullying of any kind was found to be rare, with the school working as a harmonious community where the beliefs, faiths and lifestyles of all were respected and valued.

The number of exclusions, already lower than national figures, was dropping and attendance levels were above average.

In their report, inspectors said headteacher Cath James was providing effective leadership and senior teachers were experienced and committed.

They had done a lot of valuable work to secure sixth-form teaching at the school and were also helping to convert it from a trust to an academy.

However, inspectors felt the best teaching strategies needed to more systematically shared so all lessons benefited from the best practice.

The curriculum, however, was continuing to evolve, resulting in increasingly-relevant, varied and interesting learning for students.

Meadowhead is a specialist in languages and the inspectors found that added to the school’s distinctive character with links to institutions in China and Europe.

Students were also well prepared to secure employment or training when they left, so only a few did not have their futures mapped out when they moved on.

n For the full report, visit www.ofsted.gov.uk/inspection-reports/find-inspection-report/provider/ELS/107149