Sheffield school on road to recovery say inspectors – but Chaucer still has long way to go

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Effective action is being taken to turn around a Sheffield secondary school which received a critical inspection report earlier this year, inspectors have found.

Chaucer School at Parson Cross was judged then to be requiring improvement - and Ofsted went to check on the progress being made just three months later.

Inspectors found a collective ambition and clarity of purpose about the job in hand, but senior staff were pragmatic enough to recognise the magnitude of the task they faced.

Early improvements were modest and inconsistent, but systems to improve staff performance were showing signs of driving up quality and standards.

The bar was being raised in terms of expectations with a focus on raising students’ aspirations, and examples were seen of pupils making very effective progress.

But there were still cases of pupils being held back by weak marking and feedback, and work which was too easy.

There had been improvement in tackling truancy and persistent absence, though the issue remained a significant challenge.

The same was true of exclusions and isolation room referrals, with significant room for further improvement.

But on the whole students were courteous and disciplined, suggesting behaviour improvement strategies were making an impact.

Inspectors say the big challenge now is to ensure every pupil makes good or better progress in every subject.