Vow to turn around Halifax school in special measures

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The acting head teacher at a Halifax school has vowed to turn it around after it was put into special measures by Ofsted.

Park Lane Learning Trust in Exley was rated inadequate in all key areas by inspectors .

The school, was previously rated as good. But the latest report said that since 2013 and until fairly recently the leadership of the school, had been in a “state of confusion and turmoil.”

Mr Jonathan Brownlie, who was deputy head at Crossley Heath school, was asked to step in at the start of January 2015 and was under no illusion of the challenges that the school faced.

“The school at the time had a lot of internal issues.

“We’ve had to reduce the staff numbers because of funding.

“Our test results were disappointing but everyone here is of the same view that we are hoping to get out of special measures as soon as possible.

“We know there is a lot of work to do and we have put a new curriculum and structures in place.

“There is a long way to go but we have already done a a lot of work over the last 13-14 months.”

Ofsted praised the work done by Mr Brownlie for making a positive difference.

The report says his “clear forensic analysis of the school’s weaknesses has effectively rationalised the roles and responsibilities of senior leaders, started to tackle weak teaching and begun to improve the accuracy of teacher assessments.”

Highlighting issues at the school the report says: “Over time leaders at all levels, including middle leaders, have had an inaccurate and overly optimistic view as to how pupils are achieving.”

The report says too many pupils do not attend regularly. And it says a narrow and inappropriate GCSE curriculum leads to too many pupils, including girls, the most able, disadvantaged pupils, and those with special educational needs or a disability not making sufficient progress.

Park Lane is a learning trust comprised of Crossley Heath School, Huddersfield University, Together Housing and Calderdale Council.

The school is set to become an academy in September. It will mean that Park Lane will join Brighter Futures Multi-Academy Trust.

Brighter Futures is a local multi academy trust led by executive head, Lynda Johnson, consisting of Field Lane Primary, Rastrick; Luddenden Foot Academy and Siddal Primary, Halifax, all outstanding primary schools.