King Edward VII School in King’s Lynn promises turnaround after ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating

King Edward VII School King's Lynn headteacher Mike Douglass. Picture: Ian Burt

King Edward VII School King's Lynn headteacher Mike Douglass. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

One of west Norfolk's best known secondary schools has vowed to make a complete turnaround after being placed in special measures.

King Edward VII High School, King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

King Edward VII High School, King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Ofsted inspectors graded the King Edward VII School (KES), in Gayton Road, King's Lynn, as 'inadequate' after saying that standards had declined over the past three years.

In particular they highlighted poor grades in English and mathematics and said teaching was often not good enough – and claimed the school's leaders 'rate the school as being better than it is and so miss how it needs to improve'.

However, KES headteacher Mike Douglass said managers did know the school's strengths and areas for development and that it was a 'significant drop' in GCSE results this year that had put the school in a 'vulnerable position'.

'This is doubly disappointing coming on the back of our 10pc rise in 2012,' he said.

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Yet despite the ruling he said: 'Our aspirations and goals have not been deflected by this judgment. We are committed to becoming an outstanding school.'

Mr Douglass pointed to the action KES – which is applying to become an academy sponsored by the College of West Anglia – had already taken since September to address the 'huge underachievement' in this summer's exam results.

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In particular he said systems for monitoring pupil performance had been made more regular and that best practices of teaching were being shared across the school.

A zero-tolerance approach to bad behaviour has also been introduced in the school, along with a new uniform and 'vertical tutoring' system, where form groups are made up of pupils of a range of ages.

However, he said many of those measures had not had the time to show their impact, as the two-day inspection took place on September 19 and 20 – just a couple of weeks after the start of term.

'Inevitably, it was the poor performance in GCSEs that led to the inspection rating,' he said. 'The fact the results were poor meant it was inevitable we were going to end up with a statement relating to teaching as well.

'However, we have got to accept the judgments as they are. We have got to move on from this and attack all the areas identified.'

Mr Douglass said that although he and the teaching staff were 'bitterly disappointed' by the ruling, he was 'confident that we have the foundations in place to transform the school'.

He added that there 'obvious areas where we need to improve' but promised a 'massive push on developing teaching through a range of strategies'.

Ofsted said teaching was 'inadequate' and that: 'In too many lessons, teachers do not check thoroughly enough how well students in the class are learning.'

Inspectors also said even those with responsibility for subject areas did not review attainment and progress in enough depth to inform plans for improvement. 'Hence, the improvement is patchy and not as rapid as it needs to be,' lead inspector Michael Sutherland said.

KES' 'inadequate' rating now means it will receive regular monitoring inspections from Ofsted to keep an eye on its progress.

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