GIVING some children time off to study at home has backfired spectacularly at St Catherine’s Catholic High School, with many failing to return to their classrooms when required.
The situation has prompted Ofsted inspectors to place the school in special measures again.
It last came out of that category in January 2009.
There are 666 children enrolled at the school which is due to close in August 2013 when it merges with the nearby Holy Trinity Academy.
“While partial timetables are suitable for some students, the strategy has been adopted it routinely for too many and they are not developing good attendance habits,” according to inspector Joan Hewitt.
“Behaviour and safety are inadequate because attendance is well below the national average.”
Ofsted has told the school to implement clear procedures to track and record attendance, to rigorously follow-up absences and take robust action.
High quality staff training is also needed to ensure vigilance in identifying absence patterns and raise awareness among students, parents and carers.
The school was given an a notice to improve in January 2011 and in October was judged to be making satisfactory progress.
“Leadership and management are inadequate because they have failed to secure significant improvements to achievement and attendance,” said Inspector Hewitt.
The school’s executive principal, Michael Gosling, said: “We are already reviewing our attendance procedures and ensuring that this vibrant school is a place learners want to come to because they know that we are providing a great education that meets their needs.”