Sheffield academy ‘requires improvement’

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A new regime at a Sheffield secondary school has got off to a shaky start according to inspectors - who have found it requires improvement.

Chaucer at Parson Cross is now an academy which is part of a group of five schools led and supported by Tapton.

It left local authority control in September 2012 after GCSE results failed to meet minimum government targets.

During a two day visit Ofsted found that pupils were making ‘expected’ rather than ‘good’ progress in every year group.

While teaching in maths was improving the GCSE students’ progress was slower than expected due to past problems.

Overall the quality of teaching was improving too, but it was found to be still too variable.

Work was sometimes too hard for some pupils while it was too easy for the most able because lessons were not always planned carefully enough.

Inspectors also felt the teachers’ expectations of the presentation and neatness of the students’ work was not as high as it should be.

Not all the pupils attended school regularly enough to make good progress, some not understanding the importance of good attendance.

The youngsters’ attitudes to learning were also variable when teaching was not good, and a few members of staff failed to ensure pupils behaved well in lessons.

But there was praise for headteacher Scott Burnside who was found to be leading the school strongly and was well supported by Tapton head David Bowes and the governors.

Vocational subjects were a strong point and pupils showed pride and respect for their environment.

They also understood the importance of respecting those of other cultures and beliefs.

Inspectors found senior staff enjoyed good working relationships with the pupils, which was an added benefit as the school sought to move forward quickly.

The school’s priority was to improve the quality of teaching which would then boost pupil performance levels, with good systems now in place.

Progress was quickest among the youngest pupils in Year 7 where the school’s new ethos and expectations had been firmly established and the culture of the academy had clearly changed for the better.

Mr Burnside said he was very proud of what students, staff, parents, governors and the community had achieved over the last two years.

“It has been about determination to succeed through openness, honesty and commitment to be the best we can be - by learning together and achieving together,” he said.

“We will use this very positive platform to continue to strive for further excellence in Chaucer and Parson Cross.”