Worthing High head teacher expresses disappointment over Ofsted results

Carolyn Dickinson of Worthing High School
Carolyn Dickinson of Worthing High School

THE acting head teacher of Worthing High School has spoken of her disappointment over a critical Ofsted inspection, resulting in the school being placed into special measures.

Carolyn Dickinson revealed “improvements had to be made” in the wake of the report, which found the school had been failing in core areas, including English and science teaching.

W06803H13 WH WORTHING HIGH SCHOOL PIC S.G. 05.02.2013''Worthing High School

W06803H13 WH WORTHING HIGH SCHOOL PIC S.G. 05.02.2013''Worthing High School

Ofsted’s verdict comes just weeks after the school’s turbulent transition to an academy, which had sparked several strikes last autumn from staff concerned over potential changes to terms and conditions.

Among the central issues within the report, were that key reading and writing attainment levels had not been met.

“Ofsted has provided us with a clear message of the priorities we must focus on over the next two terms,” said Mrs Dickinson.

She added: “I was pleased to see Ofsted acknowledged teaching is improving across the school as a result of the action taken by the new leadership term during the autumn term.

“However, as the new team has only been in place for one term, insufficient progress had been made across all subject areas at the time of the inspection.

“We are determined to ensure the school tackles the issues identified by Ofsted and have put in place a rigorous action plan which will ensure we remain focused on the key areas for improvement.”

She added there had been a number of teaching interventions put in place starting last term to address students’ needs.

“We are not feeling dejected by this and there is an energy and drive within the school to make changes and we hope to be out of special measures far quicker than the two years it can take.”

However, Linda McVeigh, of West Sussex Academy Watch and a parent of a child at the school, felt it had “hit rock bottom” from having been rated as being good by Ofsted in 2009.

She said: “Our campaign has repeatedly warned over the last 10 months that the pursuit of academy conversion is a costly distraction, and that structural change does not lead to better results.”

She added: “The leadership of the school will tell stakeholders that as a new academy they must be given time to succeed.

“For the sake of all the pupils, staff and parents attached to the school, we sincerely hope it does.

“Nevertheless, this must not mask the fact it is the present leadership that, in pursuit of this academy folly, has presided over this decline and is now deemed to be failing.”

Bob Smytherman, Liberal Democrat county councillor for Tarring, felt the Ofsted report was a resigning matter for those governors who had supported its move to an academy.

He said: “There were a lot of people who thought this was coming over the past few months with the problems the school has had.”

East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton revealed he was “disappointed” by the inspection results.

However, he felt there were still many positives surrounding the school and believed it would succeed as an academy.