Standards are rising at Marlwood School
A SECONDARY school whose troubles gripped the nation’s TV viewers is well on the way to leaving special measures.
Monitors from Ofsted visited Marlwood School shortly before the end of last term and say things are continuing to look up.
Marlwood featured heavily in the BBC documentary School, which went behind the scenes at three Castle School Education Trust-run schools to look at the challenges facing them.
The school, suffering severe financial pressures, was rated inadequate by Ofsted in 2017 and placed in special measures, which involve extra monitoring by the education watchdog.
Deputy head teacher Del Planter stepped up to become interim head last September and Ofsted inspector Andrew Lovett praised his impact on the school’s fortunes over the course of inspectors’ two visits since then.
Mr Lovett said: “The interim headteacher has been in post for almost two terms. When he first took on the role, he set out his vision, identified priorities and established his way of working.
“The last monitoring visit report remarked on the renewed impetus for improving teaching and learning. However, I noted that much remained to be done.
“There have been significant improvements in virtually all areas of the school since then. This is very largely the result of the leadership of the head teacher, supported by his senior team and staff.”
He said the school’s leaders and managers were “taking effective action towards the removal of special measures”.
The inspector said the quality of teaching is improving, with standards rising in most subjects and that pupils’ attitudes changing, with more pride being shown in their work.
But he warned that teachers’ expectations remained too low in a few subjects, such as maths.
“Mathematics is a cause for concern,” Mr Lovett said. “Here, teachers are not setting high enough expectations of what pupils can achieve.
“The standards achieved are not good enough. The level of work is not challenging enough.”
Inspectors said attendance was continuing to improve but said: “The figures are distorted by the near total absence of a very small number of pupils.”
Mr Planter welcomed the report, saying: “Ofsted has recognised the significant progress that Marlwood School is making in a wide range of areas, despite the very challenging financial and organisational constraints that the school faces.
“Whilst the vision for Marlwood School is much greater than the removal of special measures, we acknowledge that this will be a significant step on the way.”