Sheffield school on the right track

Birley Community College headteacher Steve Robinson.
Birley Community College headteacher Steve Robinson.
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Problems at a Sheffield secondary school are being turned around with ‘energy, enthusiasm and vision’, a team of inspectors has found.

Birley Community College received a disappointing report after an Ofsted team visited in May, ruling that it required improvement.

The 1,200 pupils were not doing well enough in science or maths, and teaching in all areas of the school was inconsistent and not sufficiently challenging.

There were also issues with the students’ behaviour, with attendance levels and with rates of persistent absence.

Now a follow-up visit has found effective action is being taken by the school’s senior leaders to put things right, including headteacher Steve Robinson.

The school has seven new teachers, including deputy head and a senior member of staff responsible for science.

Areas for improvement are being tackled with energy, enthusiasm and vision, while the chair of governors is holding senior teachers to account at regular meetings.

A programme of training for staff has been introduced with extra support for teachers who need it.

Policies to help pupils improve their work have been introduced, and methods of tracking their progress have been improved beyond recognition, according to local authority monitors.

A team of six teachers has been created to give special attention to youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds, mentoring them and giving them support.

Students needing help to boost their reading skills were also being given extra help to accelerate their progress, with a new overall focus on literacy.

Mr Robinson said the school had moved on significantly in the wake of May’s verdict.

“The report has also highlighted a number of strengths in school, including our improved exam results and the improvement in the quality of our teaching.

“We know what needs to be done and our actions are already having an impact.”