Ofsted inspectors say Norfolk school has failed to improve sufficiently

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Downham Market High School has been put on special measures by education inspectors at Ofsted.

A report published today said the move was felt necessary because the school had failed to improve sufficiently since an earlier inspection highlighted problems.

“The school is not satisfactory because teaching does not consistently result in at least satisfactory learning and progress, and too many lessons are disrupted by a minority of students. Some leaders and teachers have resisted the changes instigated by the new head teacher, slowing the pace of improvement.

“Achievement is inadequate and the pace of learning is too slow in too many lessons, especially in mathematics and science. Although attainment has improved in the current Year 11, students’ overall progress remains inadequate. There are unacceptable variations in performance among different groups,” said the report.

The school is one of the largest in the county and has 1,700 pupils. It has specialist technology status and recently announced plans to bid for academy status in a joint move with the College of West Anglia.

It was issued with a notice to improve in March last year and monitored again in November when there was judged to be inadequate progress.

“Teaching is inadequate. During the inspection almost a quarter of the lessons seen were inadequate with particular weaknesses in science. Teaching was good in only a minority of lessons,” added the report.

Inspectors added that the school’s provision for spiritual, moral, social and cultural development had been bolstered by its work on community cohesion, the respect programme and the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

“Members of the governing body are now holding the school to account more effectively following training in data analysis and through their involvement in faculty reviews. The school’s arrangements for child protection and for vetting staff meet current requirements,” said the report.

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