Catholic ‘Notice to Improve’

Ofsted pics at St Catherine's High School, Holmfield.'Pictured in the Y8 art class from left are Kylie Hicks, 13, Lauren Truman, 13, Nicole Owen, 12 and Martyna Slomczynska, 13
Ofsted pics at St Catherine's High School, Holmfield.'Pictured in the Y8 art class from left are Kylie Hicks, 13, Lauren Truman, 13, Nicole Owen, 12 and Martyna Slomczynska, 13

STANDARDS have slipped at a secondary school which only two years ago had been well on the road to recovery.

St Catherine’s Catholic High was judged to be in need of special measures in 2006 but by January 2009 it was providing a satisfactory standard of education.

Ofsted inspectors have now issued the school with a notice to improve because student achievement, the quality of teaching and attendance are not up to scratch.

“It is performing significantly less well than in all the circumstances it could reasonably be expected to perform,” according to chief inspector Angela Headon.

“But significant improvements in the attainment of Year 11 students and a measurable increase in the proportion of good or better lessons indicate that the school has satisfactory capacity for sustained improvement.”

St Catherine’s, at Holmfield, Halifax, has nearly 800 pupils but is soon to lose the support of the Leeds Catholic Diocese, if it becomes an academy.

The school has twice the average number of pupils eligible for free school meals and with special needs.

Head teacher Patricia Sheard is praised by Ofsted for her effective leadership in overcoming staffing difficulties and the governors are described as well informed.

Students generally display positive attitudes to learning but there has been a significant increase in exclusions.

“In the large majority of lessons students make satisfactory progress but too much teaching remains satisfactory,” said Ofsted.

Mrs Sheard said she was disappointed but the inspectors acknowledged that the school faced a number of challenges, difficulties with staffing and uncertainties about the future.

She added: “We are confident that by the time of their next visit in the summer, we will be able to demonstrate significant progress.”