Ofsted Downgrades Chiswick School to 'Needs Improvement'

Head Teacher Tony Ryan says report was 'harsh at best'


Chiswick School To Expand Intake Of Students

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Chiswick School has lost its 'Good' in all categories Ofsted rating following an inspection at the beginning of November and has been found to 'Need Improvement' in a number of areas. The Head Teacher, Tony Ryan, described the report as "harsh at best" and said it was not a fair reflection of the work the school had done to improve pupils' achievement.

The areas in need of immediate improvement related to Special Educational Needs and Disadvantaged pupils, the analysis of data, and some areas of leadership. The report also said Governors did not hold leaders to account sufficiently well and wants to see improvement in that area.

Head Teacher Tony Ryan

Head Teacher Tony Ryan

The chair of the Governors, Jane Manfield, said they were "very disappointed" to receive an overall judgemental of ' Requires Improvement' . However they fully took on board the areas identified for improvement and there had recently been a restructuring and review of the Governing Body in line with Department of Education guidance.

The school maintained its 'Good' ranking in

  • Quality of Teaching, Learning and Assessment
  • Behaviour
  • Students’ personal development and welfare
  • Quality of the Sixth Form

The report released today (30 November) said that while some academic outcomes were broadly in line with national averages, the progress of disadvantaged pupils and those with Special Educational Needs was "erratic" and lagged behind that of other pupils in the Academy. The provision for Special Educational Needs within the main Academy was weak and not focused clearly on ensuring those pupils achieved as well as they can. However the alternative provision at the offsite Chiswick Centre was well managed and had been successful in helping a number of pupils return to mainstream education.

The evaluation of the many activities supported by the pupil premium was not up to date.

Leadership and management required improvement because "leaders do not monitor the performance or evaluate provision of different groups of pupils including Disadvantaged or Special Educational Needs" and information relating to the current performance of those key groups showed "volatility"- their progress varied between subject and year groups.

Ofsted inspected Chiswick School on Tuesday 3rd and Wednesday 4th November 2015. The inspection was due, as the previous inspection had been carried out in March 2012, when, after a number of years where the school had been assessed as ‘Satisfactory’, it was converted to the higher grading of ‘Good’ in all categories.

Since then, the school has grown in both size and popularity, raising its Year 7 intake numbers last year from 215 to 240 in response to parental demand, resulting in it being heavily over-subscribed this summer.

The challenge for the school is to maintain confidence amongst parents, students and staff that the reforms will be implemented quickly - there will be an Ofsted monitoring visit in three months. Last year the school carried out some restructuring, including losing some senior staff, as a result of financial cutbacks. The GCSE results in English were also lower than expected. Meetings have been held between the head teacher and staff, all years of students, and both existing and prospective parents are also invited to a meeting to quiz the head about the way forward.

On the positive side, the inspectors commented on how the quality of teaching had improved and was Good. Students were obviously proud to attend Chiswick and their behaviour both in and outside of school was recognised as being very good. The inspection team commented that students felt safe and secure and that they reported that not only were there very few instances of bullying within the school but when it did occur, students knew how to report it and were confident that the school would take appropriate action.

The Sixth Form was deemed to offer a good provision with an appropriate curriculum and rising standards. Inspectors also commented on the strong leadership, together with pastoral and support structures evident within post-16 education. Careers education, information and guidance was judged as a strength across the school and the school’s work on assisting students to adopt positive approaches to their mental health and well-being were praised.

However, the report said the Academy needed to sharpen the quality of leadership and management and increase accountability at all levels by ensuring;

-a more systemic and frontline approach to monitoring and evaluating all aspects of the school

-that the Governing Body was provided with appropriate and detailed information

- clear and measurable targets related to whole-school development identified and shared with Governors.

The school needed to eliminate gaps in the area of 'outcomes' of different groups of pupils including disabled pupils, those with Special Educational Needs or identified as being disadvantaged, using "more purposeful and precise analyses of performance data" to identify underperformance.

The school needed to ensure that academic progress attainment was compared with the correct 'national comparators' (comparing disadvantaged pupils with non-disadvantaged pupils nationally). The school needed to better analyse data relating to behaviour, attendance and achievement to identify patterns, trends, or issues.

Chiswick School recently carried out restructuring due to financial cutbacks, which meant a change in staff, including an influx of newly-qualified teachers. But the report said there had been a "well structured induction programme" and teaching had stabilised and students settled down well to learning. The curriculum was broad and balanced.

The overall downgrading from 'Good' to 'Needs Improvement' means the school will be monitored in three months time, and will receive an Ofsted inspection in two years.

December 5, 2015

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