Dsyfunctional leadership, pupils making limited progress and declining attendance are just a few of the key findings after a visit by Ofsted inspectors to Kirkby College.
The school in Tennyson Street, Kirkby, had a full Ofsted inspection earlier this year and was found to be ‘inadequate’ in all categories.
The key findings from the report were ‘relationships between leaders in the school and those who are responsible for governance have completely broken down. Leadership is dysfunctional.
‘Leaders do not understand the extent of the considerable weaknesses in the school. They are unable to demonstrate the capacity to bring about the urgently needed improvements.
‘Safeguarding is ineffective. Roles and responsibilities are unclear. Systems to protect pupils are not robust.
‘Leaders have not communicated a clear vision for school improvement. Staff do not recognise whole-school priorities.
‘Development and action plans are vague. All pupils, particularly disadvantaged pupils and those who have special educational needs (SEN) and/or disabilities, make considerably less progress than other pupils nationally.
‘Leaders are unable to account for the school’s use of the pupil premium and Year 7 catch-up funding. There is no demonstrable impact of this significant sum of additional funding.
‘Teachers do not routinely consider pupils’ different needs and abilities when planning activities. Pupils make limited progress.
‘Leaders have not ensured that pupils’ basic needs are met. Pupils are not adequately cared for in their daily school life. Leaders do not promote pupils’ personal development and well-being.
‘The leadership of the provision for pupils who have SEN and/or disabilities requires considerable strengthening. Leaders have not ensured that statutory duties are met.
‘The sixth form provision does not meet the requirements of the 16 to 19 study programmes. And attendance is low and declining’.
The inspectors said the school now need to improve ‘the quality of leadership and management, the quality of teaching, learning and assessment by ensuring that teachers plan activities which meet pupils’ different needs and abilities, routinely plan activities which interest and motivate pupils and are held to account for pupils’ outcomes, improve personal development, behaviour and welfare and improve the provision in the sixth form by supporting the leader of the sixth form to take a strategic role to improve the quality of the education provided, increasing opportunities for students to participate in work-related learning and to undertake work experience and improving students’ attendance.
The stengths found by the inspectors were that ’there are pockets of stronger teaching which lead to pupils making faster progress than elsewhere in the school and the pupils enjoy these lessons, some support staff work tirelessly to address the issue of pupils’ attendance and to check on their well-being and many pupils are polite and self-motivated. They work hard and are keen to succeed’.
In the category of effectiveness of leadership and management the inspectors said ‘the principal has not used his time or energy effectively in order to ensure that the school provides an adequate quality of education and leaders have not ensured that pupils’ interests come first. They have not created a culture where pupils feel valued, nor have they ensured that pupils’ basic needs are met. Pupils are not able to learn effectively in the atmosphere and environment which surrounds them’.
For personal development, behaviour and welfare the report said ‘leaders have not ensured that pupils’ well-being is promoted as they go about their daily school life. For example, there are insufficient facilities to enable pupils to sit and eat their lunch in comfort.
‘Pupils told inspectors that they do not use the toilets during the school day because their privacy cannot be guaranteed, nor do facilities provide adequate hygiene. Pupils say that they do not feel welcomed by the school. Many
pupils are unhappy at school.’
The Chad is awaiting a response from Kirkby College.
However the school has published a letter on its website which has been sent to parents/carers.
The letter said: On January 23 and 24, we received an OFSTED inspection at Kirkby College. It is extremely disappointing for all associated with Kirkby College that OFSTED has judged the overall effectiveness of the school to be inadequate, requiring special measures.
The majority of you may not recognise what is described in the inspection report because your child is thriving at Kirkby College. When you visit the school during a normal day you will encounter a calm and orderly atmosphere. Many of you have given very positive feedback to staff at parents’ evenings. It is, however, clear that higher expectations and greater challenge are needed in order for all students to secure the outcomes they deserve.
Kirkby College is a school that is facing financial and educational challenges, but is determined to make strides forward quickly and decisively. We have already begun the transformational work in relation to safeguarding, leadership, teaching and learning. The view of the leadership team, with support from the governing body, has not changed.
The report is a clear mandate for change and the OFSTED grading means that school leaders will work closely with one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors; we are currently formulating a detailed action plan to submit to OFSTED. The school will receive regular (termly) inspection visits to ensure that rapid progress is being made towards the removal of special measures and are successful. We are actively pursuing support from a successful Multi Academy Trust.
We know this report will make uncomfortable reading. In order to answer your questions and listen to your views we will hold surgeries for parents/carers on Tuesday, March 13, Wednesday, March 14, Thursday, March 15, and Tuesday, March 20. At these meetings members of the Senior Leadership Team and the governing body will be available to respond to your questions and concerns. If you would like to attend one of these surgeries please complete the attached reply slip and your appointment will be confirmed by telephone. If you would like to come and view Kirkby College in action, please contact the school to arrange a visit.
Finally, your children are the most important aspect of our school. This report has highlighted weaknesses in our provision for them; we would like to assure you that we will improve their school experience. Students will be spoken to during assemblies to help them understand how the school will change in order to improve. We ask for your continued support as we make improvements to ensure that every student at Kirkby College realises their full potential.