School wins apology on ‘slur’ as a failure

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A SCARBOROUGH secondary school branded inadequate by Ofsted inspectors has seen the findings dramatically overturned.

Raincliffe School was hit by stinging criticism last year which stated teaching levels were unacceptable, and it was ordered to improve standards immediately.

However, school bosses and county council chiefs launched an official appeal against the findings and Ofsted has admitted to “serious flaws” in its original judgement.

The school has now been graded as satisfactory.

Executive headteacher Garry Hancock said he was delighted at the u-turn and said the first report had placed a great strain on the school, which forged a federation with Graham School in 2009.

The school, renowned for its business and enterprise credentials, experienced an impressive 20 per cent increase in GCSE success last year, with 78 per cent of students achieving five A* to C grades.

The original report said the quality of teaching was “too variable and inadequate” and “expectations were too low”, but the amended version said the school was providing “satisfactory progress” for pupils.

Mr Hancock said: “The original flawed report placed considerable pressure on students, staff and governors who have responded superbly under difficult circumstances.

“The unfair publicity created by the Ofsted policy of publishing reports prior to judging complaints has added to the pressure and I hope that the changed – turn to page 4

report and Ofsted’s admission of their flawed process will restore the broader community’s confidence in the school.

“We have always retained the confidence in our own judgements and have been very grateful for the extensive support we have received from families and students.

“We now look forward to continuing to develop and improve the quality of the education we provide for all students within the Graham and Raincliffe federation so that we continue our progress towards becoming an outstanding school.”

The new report pointed to a number of positive aspects at the school, noticeably its burgeoning GCSE results and relationship with Graham School.

It reads: “The majority of students make satisfactory progress and some make good progress given their starting points.

“Students are well supported by a personalised curriculum and good care, guidance and support.

“Over the past three years, attainment has risen and achievement has increased and students at risk of underachieving received highly effective and well targeted support

“In the specialist subject of business studies, students make good progress and the links with Graham School through the federation have increased the number of options on offer to students which are appreciated.”

However, it added that it still needed to eradicate “inadequate teaching” and plan lessons to “motivate and challenge students of all abilities.”

Mr Hancock added: “Ofsted have apologised to us for the difficult position in which they placed the school, our families and the local community and we feel that the report now recognises the significant improvement that the school has made before and during its partnership with Graham School.”

A statement from North Yorkshire County Council added: “We are delighted that Ofsted now supports the school’s and the local authority’s view that Raincliffe is a satisfactory school with some good features.

“Ofsted has acknowledged that flaws in the inspection led to several judgements being lower than was warranted.

“We felt that the judgement that the school required a notice to improve was made without secure inspection evidence.

“Ofsted has upheld this view and apologised for the errors which were made and any stress that may have been caused.”