Now school is on the up

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ACTION to turn round a failing secondary school saved it from likely closure.

Park Lane Learning Trust, Exley, is now thriving having changed from a community school to a National Challenge Trust with Foundation Status.

Council chiefs intervened when the then Park Lane High School received a damning Ofsted report in 2009 and was given a “Notice to Improve.”

Leadership and management was targeted and £720,000 Government money was granted to change the school’s status.

The school was linked with Brooksbank School and Sports College, Elland, Huddersfield University, Pennine Housing Trust and Calderdale Council.

Speedy progress followed and in September 2010 current head teacher Stephen Taylor was appointed and he has made a positive impact on standards, according to a report to tomorrow’s council scrutiny panel meeting.

Earlier this year Ofsted rated the school as satisfactory with capacity for sustained improvement.

Inspectors praised senior staff brought in to turn the school around before Mr Taylor’s appointment and said he had revitalised the school and galvanised staff.

“There is a mood of optimism and increasing confidence in the school,” said the report.

The school no longer requires significant improvement but Ofsted did identify key areas to raise attainment.

In 2010, 23 per cent of students achieved 5A*-C GCSEs including English and Mathematics. This year it expects that figure to be between 38 to 40 per cent.

The formation of a Trust had unlocked substantial additional funding and strong support from educational and community partners.

“It is likely that without these structural changes, Park Lane High would have declined and been vulnerable to closure,” says the report.

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