UPDATE: Grammar School responds to Ofsted ‘requires improvement’ rating

Boston Grammar School. EMN-140403-122701001
Boston Grammar School. EMN-140403-122701001

Boston Grammar School has ‘a robust strategy’ in place to improve on areas identified in today’s (Thursday’s) Ofsted report which rated it as ‘requiring improvement’ across the board.

In a joint statement, the school’s governors and headteacher John McHenry said: “We have a robust strategy in place to deliver effective, rapid improvements in the areas identified.

“The school will work in partnership with parents and pupils to achieve the best education for all and deliver a centre of academic excellence in the heart of the community.”

The school was rated as ‘good’ in its last inspection in 2013, and the statement pointed to a ‘more robust Ofsted framework’ and the ‘government’s commitment to driving up standards’ meant that ‘performance previously considered satisfactory is now graded as requiring improvement to be good’.

The statement points to the reports more positive findings including that ‘effective action to improve the quality of teaching and to raise pupils’ achievement has already begun’ and that ‘the headteacher has raised the expectations of all pupils and staff’.

It said that the school considered particularly important its focus on raising achievement ‘for the most able pupils and the continuing drive to improve provision in the Sixth Form’.

It said the school was emphasising a Culture of Excellence and pointed to the report’s comment that ‘performance information indicates that most able pupils are now making the progress expected’ and that at GCSE and A level ‘the proportion of pupils achieving the highest grades is increasing’.

The school also pointed to the new Progress Eight measure which mses a formula to calculate pupils progress across eight subjects rather than just English and Maths from when they started Key Stage Four (normally when they start at the school).

They said the measure showed ‘a massive rise’ in performance from -0.58 in 2014 to -0.01, in 2015 and pointed to the report’s statement that ‘achievement is improving’.

According to the report 95 per cent of parents who completed Ofsted’s online questionnaire said ‘their child is happy at school’ and, the school says more significantly, 92 per cent ‘would recommend the school to other parents’.

The inspectors found that ‘pupils are proud to be members of this school’.

The school also pointed to strengths identified by the inspectors including the statements ‘Pupils conduct themselves well and have strong relationships with their teachers and each other’; ‘pupils with special educational needs and those at an early stage of learning English as an additional language make good progress’; that ‘a wide range of opportunities’ are available for all pupils; and ‘The school’s work to promote personal development and welfare is good’.

Thursday, 1.56pm - Boston Grammar School has been said to ‘require improvement’ across the board, following its latest Ofsted inspection published today (Thursday).

The grading is down from the school’s previous overall score of ‘good’ given following an inspection in 2013.

The grade was given to all judgement areas: Effectiveness of leadership and management; quality of teaching, learning and assessment; personal development, behaviour and welfare; outcomes for pupils; and 16-19 study programmes.

The report states that ‘the quality of teaching is not good enough to ensure that all groups of pupils achieve as highly as they should, particularly the most able’.

Among other things it notes that the proportion of high grades at GCSE ‘is too low in the majority of subjects’ and that ‘leaders at all levels have an over-optimistic view of the school’s provision, particularly the quality of teaching’.

The report says sixth form outcomes, ‘although improving’ are not good as ‘too few learners achieve as highly as they should’.

The report does however praise the rapidly closing gaps between the achievements of ‘disadvantaged pupils and their peers at GCSE’ and says there is a wide variety of opportunities for pupils to develop their understanding of British society.

It says that pupils with special educational needs make good progress and pupils at an early stage of learning English as an additional language ‘receive effective support’ and make good progress across all years.

The report recommends, among other things, that the school needs to ensure ‘all aspects of the school’s self-evaluation and action planning are accurate’ and ‘subject leaders should closely monitor all aspects of the quality of teaching’.

It says that governors need to undertake activities which give them an ‘accurate view of the effectiveness of school provision,’ noting that they do not always check the school’s provision for themselves.

It says that by ensuring leaders and teachers have high expectations of, and are equipped with the skills necessary to stretch and challenge, ‘the most-able’ pupils the school could raise the achievement of those pupils.

It also recommends the school’s sixth form senior leaders and the head of the department work more closely to check the quality of teaching, improve attendance, and ensure advise and guidance prior to starting sixth form is ‘effective’.

The Standard has approached Boston Grammar School for comment.

To view the report in full, click here.