THOMAS A Becket Middle School in Worthing has been rated as requiring improvement by education watchdog Ofsted.
ead teacher John Gadd described the downgrading from outstanding in the last two inspections as ‘hugely disappointing’, but assured parents that he regarded the new status as temporary.
Inspectors visited the Glebeside Avenue school on January 30 and 31 and observed a total of 32 lessons as well as meetings held with groups of pupils, the school’s senior and subject leaders and three chairman of governing body committees.
Teaching was one of the areas that was found to need improvement, in particular marking and planning, as well as leadership and management.
It was found that pupils who are disabled or who have special educational needs, particularly those at school action plus, have not made consistently good progress and pupils supported by pupil premium funding have not made as rapid progress as the others.
Standards for all pupils were not as high as they should be by the end of year six.
The behaviour and safety of pupils was rated as good, and pupils were found to be enthusiastic about the school and learning.
Inspectors said the curriculum was rich and motivating for the pupils and extra-curricular provision was exceptional in both range and quality.
Mr Gadd said: “We recognise that the Ofsted inspection framework now focuses even more on the performance of certain groups of children.
“For the last two to three years we have recognised that some of our groups of children with special educational needs, some of those in receipt of the pupil premium of free school meals, and some who are vulnerable either emotionally or in terms of behaviour have struggled to make the same progress as all the other children a and have worked hard to help them ‘catch up’.
“This aspect was heavily focused upon within the inspection, and resulted in us receiving a judgement of ‘requires improvement’.
“Unfortunately for us, the way in which the Ofsted inspection framework is written means that other areas such as quality of teaching and leadership and management cannot be judged as good because they are not yet having a sufficient impact on these groups of children.”
He added: “For me the most positive aspect of the inspection came in the formal feedback meeting at the end of the inspection to myself, the chair of governors, a representative from the local authority, and the school’s senior leadership team.
“George Logan, the lead inspector, said (and I quote), ‘It may be said that this school has a greater vision for education and well-being for children than Ofsted … it is a great place’, and for that I am a very proud head teacher.”
Mr Gadd said that staff had already put steps in place to make progress.
“We will continue to do that,” he said.
“We want to get back to being good or beyond as quickly as possible and we see this as temporary.
“We have had fantastic support from parents, reassuring us that they still love us as a school.”