Ofsted says uncertainty about Hewett’s future is hindering efforts to improve it

Hewett School sign and entrance on Hall Road. Picture: Denise Bradley

Hewett School sign and entrance on Hall Road. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

The Hewett School's first Ofsted monitoring report since it was put in special measures has said uncertainty about its future has made it difficult for the school or county council to make long-term plans for its improvement.

Inspector Lesley Daniel visited the school on February 3, and wrote: 'Neither the statement of action from the local authority nor your school

improvement plan can address some of the key issues of leadership, such as the appointments of a permanent headteacher and other key members of staff, until this situation has been settled.'

She said this meant its plans 'are not fully fit for purpose', but added: 'Your school improvement plan does tackle key priorities such as your developing literacy strategy and clear curriculum plan, amongst other initiatives, which will have a longer term effect on the quality of education provided for your students.'

Interim headteacher Phil Hearne said: 'What she seems to be saying is that given the circumstances we are in, which is this hiatus on our future, we are making as much progress as we can.'

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He added: 'It is not slowing us down in putting the foundations in place for the future, but planning beyond that is more difficult.'

Asked about the effect of the uncertainty about the school's future on staff and pupils, he said: 'It's impossible for that not have an impact, but the thing about staff here that's a real credit to them is that they are being consummate professionals. They realise there are issues, but they are not letting them affect what they do.'

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The Ofsted letter said teachers now have a more realistic idea of their strengths and weaknesses, pupils now understand that poor behaviour will lead to consequences, and the school's improvement plan 'is fit for purpose in so far as it focuses on addressing weaknesses in leadership and teaching to support improvements in progress and attainment for all students'.

Last year, 44pc of pupils achieved the government's key measure of at least five GCSEs at A*-C, including English and maths, and Mr Hearne said there should be a 'significant improvement' this year.

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