School is in “trying” situation - says Ofsted

Ofsted at Sowerby Bridge High School. Students with their anti racism CD and art work.
Ofsted at Sowerby Bridge High School. Students with their anti racism CD and art work.

A SECONDARY school with an increasing number of Eastern European students, refugees and asylum seekers is continuing to provide a satisfactory level of education, according to Ofsted.

Inspectors have described as “remarkable” the transformation of the sixth form at Sowerby Bridge High from inadequate to good and say that students make fast progress and reach standards that exceed the national average.

There are just over 1,000 students at the school, which has specialist maths and computer college status.

Some are from Slovakia and the Czech Republic and the overall proportion with special educational needs is much higher than the national average.

“The schools works in a very demanding environment with high student mobility, exceptionally low student skills on entry and increasing numbers who are at the early stages of acquiring English.

“In the face of these pressures, the school is coping admirably and on balance provides students with a satisfactory quality of education,” according to the inspectors.

The school provides suitable care, guidance and support and most students feel safe and enjoy coming to school, although some feel behaviour could be better.

“By keeping the school on a largely even keel in trying circumstances, raising attainment and improving progress securely, together with many aspects of the school’s work, leaders have shown at least a satisfactory capacity for improvement.”

On the whole, the inspectors found students to be hard working, ambitious and confident.

“Pakistani students’ achievement has been raised but white British students and girls’ achievement requires further improvement.

Provision for pupils with hearing impairments and autism is of high quality and the advice and guidance students receive is sound enabling them to make informed choices about their futures.

“The number who are not in education or employment after they leave is very low,” said the inspectors.

Headteacher Kate Sanderson said: “Senior leaders know the school’s strengths and weaknesses and recognise that more decisive and concerted effort is necessary if the main school is to emulate the success of the sixth form.”