Archbishop Sancroft High School in Harleston judged as “satisfactory” by Ofsted

A south Norfolk school which was once judged as 'good' is now 'satisfactory', but there are signs of improvement, according to Ofsted.

Changes in senior leadership have helped to revitalise Archbishop Sancroft High School, in Harleston, where attainment on academic GCSE courses is above average, says a report out this month.

However, inspectors note that while a majority of lessons are well taught, some focus on task completion at

the expense of understanding, and inconsistencies in marking mean children do not always know how to improve their work.

Headteacher Richard Cranmer said: 'Archbishop Sancroft High School was one of the first schools in Norfolk to be inspected under the new inspection framework. This is clearly more challenging than before and the bar has been raised significantly for each category.

'I am delighted that the inspectors recognised our improvements – particularly in English through better teaching and also in the progress of boys across all subjects.'

The report also highlights concerns that high staff turnover may have affected learning in science at the 400-pupil school, which has specialist science college status.

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Mr Cranmer said several science teachers had retired but that a new team was now in place for what was 'a pillar of the success of the school'.

Exam results have not risen as fast as the national average, says the report, because the school has not followed the national trend of entering pupils for vocational qualifications. Attainment on academic GCSE courses is above average.

Mr Cranmer said: 'We concentrate on the academic route because we encourage students to go on to sixth form and university and we feel that traditional GCSEs better prepare them for that.'

The report adds that pupils generally behave well, are enthusiastic, work well in groups and contribute to discussions, and that the good relationships between staff and pupils is a strength of the 'friendly and welcoming' school.

The school has also begun to address weaknesses in its provision for disabled pupils and those with special educational needs, it adds.

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