By Anthony Carroll
Friday, November 30, 2012
A Lowestoft high school has been placed on special measures after being labelled “inadequate” by Ofsted.
Inspectors visited Denes High School in September and found it was inadequate in four categories – pupils’ achievement, the quality of teaching, the behaviour and safety of pupils and its leadership and management.
As a result, they concluded that the school in Yarmouth Road needed close monitoring to ensure improvements were made. Their report states: “This is a school that requires special measures.”
News of Ofsted’s findings came as its new headteacher Peter Marshall pledged that he and his staff would make “rapid” improvements to ensure it was well placed to bring out the best in its 1,100 students.
In a summary of its inspectors’ key findings after an inspection on September 13 and 14, Ofsted says: “Students’ achievement is inadequate, especially in English and mathematics.
“The school’s leaders have been unable to prevent or resolve this.
“The quality of teaching is inadequate, despite the support and training teachers have received. Inspectors saw some good teaching but outstanding teaching is rare and most of it still requires improvement.
“Too many students are excluded from school. Attendance is persistently below the national average.
“Leaders and management have not done enough to improve the school since its last inspection.”
The Ofsted report did say The Denes had three main strengths. Inspectors felt outgoing headteacher Mick Lincoln, who is retiring at Christmas, kept the school a safe and friendly place during its expansion; parents valued the care and support given to disabled students; and the school’s specialism (in business and enterprise) enabled students to achieve well in business studies and foster partnerships with the local community.
Mr Marshall, who took over the school at the half-term after moving with his family from Cambridge, said he accepted and valued the Ofsted report findings and would work hard to drive up standards.
He said: “It is clear to me that Denes has significant strengths and bears many hallmarks of a successful school. “Denes has dedicated and hardworking staff who are determined to bring the best out in all our students. The school has 100 years of history to draw on and in that time has seen some setbacks but also many successes.
“Our quick recovery from special measures will shortly be just one such success story.
“With the support of my staff, Denes is well placed to make rapid improvements, and under my direction I’m confident we’ll be able to report significantly improved results in future. I will also improve, extend and strengthen many other aspects of the school to ensure that Denes is well placed to bring out the best in all of its students.”
Mr Marshall joined Denes High from Cottenham Village College, where he was deputy headteacher.
Mr Lincoln said the school had “already responded very positively” to the issues raised. He added: “Despite the recent Ofsted judgment, I am still immensely proud of the way in which Denes and its students have developed in my time at the school. I am confident the school can recover from this setback.”