Section 8 Report
I am writing to let you know that the recent Ofsted inspection report is now available on the Ofsted website and our school website.
As you will see from the report, we continue to have a great deal to be proud of, a pride that was clearly reflected amongst the school community with so many parents and pupils responding to the Ofsted questionnaires with overwhelmingly positive responses.
Despite this, the inspection team have chosen to maintain our ''Requires Improvement'' overall, but the school's personal development and welfare of pupils was once again ''Good'', and we have been praised for our ''high expectations for the school brought about by purposeful and resilient leadership''. We continue to head in the right direction.
Although it is a shame they did not nudge the grade up on this occasion, we know the areas for improvement are achievable and what we are already working on so I see this inspection as a signpost on the way to our journey to great rather than an obstacle to overcome.
During the inspection itself, inspectors recognised the positive impact we have continued to have so far and the huge strides we've made since the last inspection, although unfortunately, I feel the tone of the report has not managed to reflect this enough, or give enough credit for many of the significant improvements that have been made.
It is a shame too that OFSTED chose to come in only a few weeks before we got our results for our 2017 leavers. Schools are usually given 2 years between inspections to demonstrate their proven capacity to improve, and, had we been inspected following our results this summer, I am sure the positive outcomes we achieved across our subject areas this year would have helped in terms of the Ofsted criteria.
However, the progress of disadvantaged pupils from challenging backgrounds remains a key focus for Ofsted and must be for ourselves. As such, despite results for our disadvantaged pupils' last year improving and inspectors stating that ''the outcomes for our current disadvantaged pupils are improving and differences diminishing, their outcomes have not improved quickly enough since the previous inspection and are not yet good''. Further work is also required in the future to improve the attendance of some of our disadvantaged pupils if we are to meet the Ofsted criteria and achieve good.
In addition, outcomes for some pupils in Humanities and Science were low at the time of the last inspection and some pupils did not make enough progress. However, despite Ofsted acknowledging in this inspection that ''the leadership of these areas has been restructured, and that consequently, the work and assessments of current pupils in these subjects is showing improved progress, with more pupils learning at a faster rate and outcomes in all improving'', currently, they cannot be graded as ''consistently good''.
I can assure you therefore, there will be no one more committed than myself and my team of staff in ensuring Ofsted's view of the school changes in relation to these particular aspects in the very near future.
With that in mind, I have to put the report into context and in doing so, look upon it as an opportunity to continue to provide stability and consolidation of all that is great about Priory, and celebrate the good, of which there is ample.
As previously mentioned, the school's personal development and welfare of pupils was once again ''Good'' with Ofsted stating that ''pupils are kept safe in school, they feel safe and are well looked after'', and parents too, ''are confident that their children are safe and well looked after in school''. They say ''pupils feel well supported and that all staff have the safety and welfare of pupils at their heart so that pupils have no hesitation in speaking with staff if they have concerns''.
I am pleased then that OFSTED have recognised ''the positive relationships between pupils, and between pupils and adults'' as ''a strong feature of the school'' as I am that ''pupils are well behaved around school and at break times and lunchtimes''. It was clear to inspectors for example that ''pupils value the extra-curricular opportunities that are provided. These activities enrich the good personal development school leaders provide for pupils. Pupils like the wide range of activities, which are offered each day''.
I am also very pleased that inspectors recognised that ''outcomes in English and Maths and across a range of other subjects are good'' and that ''the range of subjects that pupils study is good and has led to improved outcomes for pupils''.
They also stated that ''there is an improved ethos and culture for learning since the last inspection which has led to improvements''. That ''outcomes in English and Mathematics and across a range of other subjects are good'', and that ''in some areas, such as English and Mathematics, leadership is strong, and because of this, teaching is regularly good or better.Pupils are suitably challenged in these subjects, including the most able pupils and boys, so they make strong progress''. Indeed, ''outcomes for boys have improved since the last inspection''.
They recognise in the report too that ''teaching has improved since the last inspection'', that ''in subjects where teachers plan challenging activities regularly, such as English, pupils make good progress, including the most able pupils'' and that ''most teachers have good subject knowledge'', so that ''in the best lessons they use this to plan lessons that challenge and engage pupils''.
Therefore, on reflection, it is clear as Ofsted state themselves, that, ''leaders and governors have effectively tackled some of the weaker aspects identified at the last inspection'' so that ''pupils' outcomes in English and Mathematics and their strengths in other subjects, help prepare them for their next steps well, in employment, education and/or training''. It is testimony to the school and what we do that ''every Year 11 pupil in 2016 progressed to appropriate further education, employment or training''.
Being a Headteacher in any school is a demanding role and a great responsibility, but you can be assured that I will continue to carry out this role with professionalism and a quiet, confident determination to ensure Priory remains the right school for your son or daughter.
We all remain firmly committed, as always, to providing a quality education for every one of our pupils, and whilst remaining caring, we will continue to be progressive with high academic standards, to ensure that we are a school where individual pupils learn to succeed.
I would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank all staff, students, parents and members of our local community for their continued dedication, commitment and hard work in ensuring that our pupils have rich and meaningful experiences whilst at Priory that are guaranteed to help them in their futures.
In the meantime, I hope that you will continue to support us in our endeavours to provide your son or daughter with the best education we possibly can so that they can achieve the success they are capable of.
Mr M Eastham
Section 8 Report