Headteacher of ‘inadequate’ school remains focused on improving ranking

Scott Burnside, headteacher at Chaucer School
Scott Burnside, headteacher at Chaucer School
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A Sheffield headteacher says he is ‘absolutely focused’ on getting his school to an outstanding ranking – despite Ofsted judging it inadequate.

When Ofsted inspectors visited Chaucer School, Parson Cross, in April they deemed the academy to be ‘inadequate’ in every area, which is the lowest possible ranking.

In their report, released this week, inspectors criticised leadership and management; quality of teaching, learning and assessment; behaviour and welfare of pupils; and outcomes for pupils.

Despite the ranking, Scott Burnside, headteacher at Chaucer School, said he was committed to getting the school to the highest status.

He said the school has lodged two formal complaints about the accuracy of the report and the conduct of the inspectors.

Mr Burnside said: “I remain absolutely focused and committed to becoming an outstanding academy.

“There are clear areas signposted for improvement. These areas will be robustly tackled through careful planning, astute leadership, skilled determination and dedication from staff.

“The judgement will not set us back on our mission to drive continued improvement to secure good and ultimately outstanding status for Chaucer School.”

In their report, Ofsted said leaders have an ‘overoptimistic view’ of how well the school is doing and have not tackled weaknesses identified in previous inspections.

The report found the quality of teaching was ‘too inconsistent’ and pupils were finding work ‘too easy or too hard’. Teachers were criticised for accepting student work that is ‘incomplete or of poor quality’.

The school was criticised as not enough pupils are making required progress – especially in English, maths and science. Inspectors said school attendance is ‘well below the national average’, which is having a ‘harmful effect’ on their progress.

However, the report did find that pupils with special educational needs are well supported by teachers. They said pupils at the school felt safe and trust the teacher. Ofsted also praised teachers in the school who have ‘high expectations’ and provide ‘interesting and exciting lessons’.

Scott said: “Chaucer School is a safe, improving, happy and harmonious school where youngsters go on to lead fulfilled lives as successful learners, confident individuals and responsible citizens. The snapshot of two days by the Ofsted inspectors does not capture the full success journey of Chaucer School since 2012.”