Newport school told to improve by Ofsted

Pupils are not achieving their potential at a school in Newport and the quality of teaching is inconsistent, according to Ofsted inspectors who have called for improvements to be made.

Burton Borough School in Newport
Burton Borough School in Newport

Burton Borough School, which caters for more than 1,000 pupils, has been given an overall rating of "requires improvement" following a recent Ofsted inspection.

It was last judged as being a "good" school by inspectors in 2013.

In a report published this week, inspectors said the quality of teaching, learning and assessment is too variable between subjects.

The report said: "These fluctuations also occur in some subjects where the turnover of staff has been high.

"Many parents also raised this concern in the feedback they provided to Ofsted. There is, however, some effective teaching in the school, for example in English, art, music and physical education."

Inspectors noted that the current principal, Christine Raymont-Hall, has been in post since September 2016 and has brought in "considerable changes" to the way the school is organised.

But the report said that the changes came too late to ensure good outcomes for pupils in GCSE examinations last year.

Inspectors noted there had been difficulties with recruiting staff but leaders were working hard to ensure the school is fully staffed from September.

The report said: "Despite leaders’ best efforts to recruit high quality permanent teachers, there have been many temporary teachers in the school which has disrupted continuity.

"This is an important reason why pupils do not make consistently strong progress.

"The most able pupils, including disadvantaged pupils who are most able, are not achieving their potential.

"They are not challenged sufficiently in their learning."

Personal development

Inspectors say the secondary school needs to improve in areas of teaching, learning and assessment, as well as its outcomes for pupils.

It was rated "good" for leadership and in areas of personal development, behaviour and welfare.

School governors were said to understand their roles and responsibilities well and the curriculum was described as "broad and balanced".

The report said leaders were also taking effective action to make improvements.

Ms Raymont-Hall said: “We are pleased that the inspection team identified that the school is moving in the right direction.

“There have been a number of changes, especially since the beginning of the academic year with the new 'small school' structure and the introduction of the new school uniform and school logo. These were all recognised by Ofsted as strengths.

“Ofsted also recognised that safeguarding is effective, behaviour is good and that there is a prevailing culture of mutual respect.

“Provision for pupils with special educational needs is good and still improving and governance is effective.

“The Ofsted framework has changed several times since the school was last inspected and standards have risen on what is expected from schools.

“We have completely taken on board that there are areas on which we can improve, although Ofsted noted that we are on the right track in our school improvement journey.

“Particular areas we will be continuing working on include the consistency of teaching and learning, recruitment of staff with the aim of being fully staffed for September 2018 and the progress pupils make from their starting points.

“We implemented the Burton Borough University scheme last September which has seen us forge close links with Oxford University, Cambridge University, Warwick University, Staffordshire University and the University of the West of England. A number of students have already taken advantage of the opportunities this has provided.”

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