Head ‘up for challenge’ to turn school’s fortunes around

Julia Garwood
Julia Garwood
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A head teacher says she is up for the challenge of turning around the fortunes of a secondary school graded ‘inadequate’ by inspectors.

Middlecott School, Kirton, was placed in special measures by Ofsted – with head Julia Garwood (pictured) tasked with driving up standards.

She said she is confident she can turn the school’s ‘inadequate’ rating to ‘good’.

Inspectors did praise her for making an ‘impressive start’ and for ‘positive changes’ at the school since her appointment in April 2013.

However the school was accused of setting work that was ‘either too easy or too difficult’.

Ms Garwood said: “I’m naturally disappointed with the judgement by Ofsted, however I feel it was the right one to make and it gives me even more leverage to make the changes that I’ve started to make since April.

“I was fully aware of what I was getting into when I joined Middlecott School in April and I’m up for the challenge of bringing the school into the Ofsted category of ‘good’.”

The report said: “For some time, inadequate teaching has led to underachievement for all groups of students and teaching is still not strong enough to reverse this trend.

“Teachers do not routinely use the information they have on what students know and can do to set work at the right level of difficulty for individuals.

“As a result, students are often given tasks that are either too easy or too difficult for them and this often leads to a lack of engagement with their learning.

“Lessons are often dominated by teachers talking for too long, with too few opportunities for students to take an active role in their learning. As a result, students lose concentration and can go for long periods of time doing little or no work.”

Ms Garwood and chairman of governors Andrew Cogan discussed the report with parents at the school last Thursday and outlined an action plan to raise standards.

Changes include a shake-up in the school’s senior leadership team, better systems to measure students’ progress and increased accountability for teachers.

Ms Garwood said: “The school isn’t under threat of closure but we’re on a journey and the result of this Ofsted report is that we’ll arrive at where we want to be more quickly than we expected.”