Sheffield headteacher going ‘back to basics’

Yewlands Technology College.
Yewlands Technology College.
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Sharply improved GCSE results are being forecast this summer by senior staff at a Sheffield secondary school branded ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted inspectors last month.

Yewlands Technology College at Parson Cross is now under new management after joining the successful Wakefield City Academies Trust in April.

alan yellup, executive head at yewlands technology college,

alan yellup, executive head at yewlands technology college,

Executive headteacher Alan Yellup is predicting a pass rate of over 50 per cent – compared to just 36 per cent in 2013, which put the school below Government minimum standards.

The school also has a new principal, Susan Cousin, who is determined to improve teaching quality across the board.

Yewlands was one of the first schools in the city to adopt stand-alone academy status in 2011, and made good early progress.

But Mr Yellup said the leadership had tried to move too quickly from ‘good’ to an ‘outstanding’ rating, introducing innovative new methods which ‘made the simple complex’.

“They tried to run before they could walk and lost sight of the basics. We are going back to those basics,” he said.

“We know results were not where they should be - in 2013 they were poor, well down on what they should have been.

“But I think we have a sleeping giant here, with the new buildings and the location - many heads would kill to be in charge of a school like this.”

Mr Yellup said an early follow up report by Ofsted was ‘as good as it gets’, while foundations had been laid for rapid improvement.

Mrs Cousins said she applauded the staff for their attitude to changes introduced.

“As we reach the end of the year they are tired but buoyant. I am very, very proud of them, they have embraced and welcomed what we are trying to do.

“The parents meanwhile could not have been more welcoming, while we are also working to create stronger relationships our feeder schools and with the local authority,” she added.