Gorleston’s Cliff Park High School on special measures following Ofsted inspection

A headteacher last night said he was determined to turn his school around after Ofsted inspectors branded it inadequate and placed it on special measures.

Rob Sherington, of Cliff Park High School in Gorleston, will spend the next week working hard to reassure parents of both existing and prospective pupils that staff and governors can address the problems.

The school will now work with Norfolk County Council to look at the possibility of becoming a sponsored academy as one of a number of options available.

Inspectors highlighted pupils' achievements in English as a particular weakness but found the quality of teaching, behaviour of students and leadership and management were also missing the grade.

Mr Sherington said: 'I am determined that our school will now make rapid progress to improve quickly so that we are removed from special measures in less than two years. All staff and governors are united in working towards achieving this goal through a clear post-Ofsted action plan that has been put in place.

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'Of course we are extremely disappointed at the inspectors' overall judgment, which comes at a time when inspections have become much more challenging and much more heavily focused on attainment.

'Last summer's GCSE results, especially in English, were not as good as we had hoped and developing literacy skills across the school is a clear focus for supporting rapid improvement.'

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Inspectors found pupils arriving at the school with below-average abilities in year seven remained behind their peers at other secondary schools by the time they took their exams in year 11.

'Inadequate or only just satisfactory' teaching in many lessons was thought to be responsible for the under-achievement although some good examples were seen.

The report said: 'In these lessons, such as a year 10 resistant materials lesson, students of all abilities were engaged and enthused because all had been set different challenging tasks and targets appropriate to their ability. The result was a perceptible atmosphere of hard work and enjoyment in the classroom.'

Inspectors said the school's headteacher 'has a realistic understanding of the challenges facing the school'.

'However, while the school's self-evaluation recognises the main strengths in provision, it does not recognise the significance of the weaknesses'.

Next week Cliff Park will hold two forums where staff will aim to put the inspectors' findings into context, answer questions and present the school's post-Ofsted action plan. Mr Sherington said: 'We want to reassure parents that the school will actually be a better school as a result of this.'

Parents of current pupils are invited to attend a forum on May 15 with parents of pupils due to join the school in September invited on May 16.


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