THE Comet has learned that a Letchworth GC school will be deemed to be “failing to supply an acceptable level of education” following the publication of an Ofsted report.

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Fearnhill School is expected to receive a report on an Ofsted inspection within the next week, and it is believed that the Icknield Way school will be given a notice to improve.

If this notice is given to the school - which would mean it would fall below acceptable standards as defined by the Education Act 2005 - it will then have one year to improve before a reinspection a year later to determine whether it should be placed on special measures.

Speaking to The Comet, Fearnhill School headteacher Jed Whelan refused to be drawn on the content of the report.

He said: “If the report is not out by the end of this week it will be the start of next week.

“It’s gone through the moderation process but until we get the full report and it’s been signed off as an official document we cannot say anything. I am sure as soon as the document is in the public domain I will be able to talk to you.”

A governor at the school, which received a ‘good’ rating at its last inspection in November 2007, also declined to comment.

Across Hertfordshire there are currently two schools which have been given a notice to improve and one which has been placed on special measures, although none of the schools were based in Stevenage or North Herts.

A spokesman for Herts County Council said: ‘‘Regarding the situation at Fearnhill School, we’ve got the draft but there may be modifications made to that.

“When the report is released the head will call a parents meeting to discuss the findings of the report.”

Schools with a notice to improve will usually receive a monitoring inspection between six and eight months after their last inspection, where inspectors will take into account matters such as pupils’ achievements, safeguarding arrangements and the effectiveness of leaders and managers.

If a school is placed in special measures it will receive extra financial support, with action taken to ensure strong leadership is provided and the quality of teaching is improved quickly, following an inspection.

27 comments

  • I'm Joseph McDonald and I'm a year 11 student. While my time at this school hasn't been as long, I can say that I've enjoyed my time here so far and hope to stay on at the 6th form. Therefore like the others above, I was shocked and appalled to see that "apparently " Fearnhill have failed their ofsted report and that "apparently" they will be given a notice to improve. These details are just gossip and rumour and yet they make the headlines. What is this paper for? News? Gossip? I'm not saying the school is perfect but there are good and bad points in every school. This school, I find, has got more good points than bad. I hope the school gets a good report now just so Mr Gill is humiliated by how wrong he is.

    Report this comment

    Joseph

    Friday, March 4, 2011

  • honestly, I am a student at fearnhill, and most sixth formers will oppose me my comment, but the head and deputy head, have the wrong attitude towards there profession, they seem to punish unnecessairly, they never listen to roubled student without rushing them or making them feel unwelcome,and what i find most funny the day before ofsted arrived my year group was taken to the hall and bribed, we were tolled "one step out of line will end in a serious punishment", and on the day every teacher that i had a problem with, seem to act like my best friend, and when the teacher was told ofted were coming to my room, she got a pupil that had been naughty and bought them inside told them to sit down and forget about it, and when ofsted did come in that teacher was really nice to the pupil, just goes to show, the school was afraid of failing, and knew it was coming, they are all just just rude, my parents had a meeting with both of the head and deputy, and told my sister she was not academic and was not welcome to stay in sixth form because she couldnt reach a high grade, so they stopped her education at the school, she then had to go away and pay over £300 to get to college. that school is only about reputation, and thats how ofsted failed us, it would take me a day to see this, thats why it took 2 days.

    Report this comment

    R'J'N

    Saturday, March 5, 2011

  • My name is Peter Owen and I attend Fearnhill School in year 13. Rumours are a response to actions that one would expect from young children talking about trivial things in a community environment. You wouldn’t expect this of newspapers who are supposed to be working to give the absolute truth and a good explanation of an event to the community. This report is a clear example of a complete misuse of a newspapers influence in the local community. As can be seen, it has been clearly stated that the report has not been released yet and nothing is known of the outcome for the school. The head teacher, Mr Whelan, has even been quoted to not wanting to comment due to being advised to not comment until the report is released. I will totally agree with every other student which have responded to this message so far, in saying that Fearnhill is a good school. After the seven years of education I’ve received from this school I can say that I value its learning and have enjoyed it thoroughly. I think the point has been made that, yes, we have some staff who are worse at teaching than others but every school has good and bad teachers. The teachers I have teaching me have my respect and are of a very high standard, they are engaging and really informative and are extremely talented at their subject. I would never doubt that Fearnhill has had anything lower than very good teachers. I would also say it is clearly true that unfortunately inspections such as Ofsted do not give accurate results of schools around the country, it’s a mere two days where every student is expected to be perfect and act their best and every school makes itself look good for the inspectors. From those two days a school is expected to be judged upon how effective it is at being a school and how good its teaching is. I would also like to make clear again that we have in fact got Cambridge, University College London and Imperial College acceptances for the current Year 13’s. I would advise on a public apology to those at Fearnhill and to Mr Whelan for being unprofessional and making a rumour into a so called truth, enough to even encourage the thought of Fearnhill School being on special measures.

    Report this comment

    Peter Owen

    Friday, March 4, 2011

  • I can't really say much that hasn't already been said by many others - apparently, we poor, inadequately educated students at Fearnhill still like it enough to defend it against slander. Fearnhill doesn't get the best results in the world. Fearnhill doesn't always work magic and turn every unruly student round into an education-loving Oxbridge candidate. Fearnhill can't necessarily boast to always have the best facilities. But Fearnhill can claim, and I vouch for this as a student of seven years at the school, to have undoubtedly the most dedicated and caring staff-team one could ever hope to come across. They're constantly going the extra mile to help students, who may not necessarily be the most talented or brilliant at a subject, achieve a level of success that THEY can proud of. They're constantly going the extra mile to develop young human beings who don't just have a multitude of academic credentials to their name, but have a decent, empathetic character behind it too. They're also always careful to ensure that every student feels valued and understands their importance in what is clearly, judging by the unanimous outraged response to this article, a close school community. These fantastic attributes are evident most clearly in the school's SEN department, one of the largest and most flourishing in the county. It's a shame that The Comet feels the need to publish such a 'non-story', especially on its front page. Not only is the story, as of yet, completely unsubstantiated, but it completely defies the community paper's ostensible objective: to serve its readers. The disgustingly hyperbolic headline just goes to make everybody associated with the school seem like they're being harmed by this association - this could not be more true. Perhaps if we adopted the same pretentious attitude as most other schools, Ofsted and other snobby external institutions (your mediocre paper included) would appreciate us a bit more. Until then, I'm proud to say that I'm a student at Fearnhill School.

    Report this comment

    SamJohnson

    Friday, March 4, 2011

  • Well i have to say i dont agree maybe people who dont find class work challenging dont put the effort in, if you find classes easy you tell your subject teacher and they make it more challenging for you and plus most classes are mixed ability groups so teachers will make harder work for students more capible. I can honestly say when i looked around schools fearnhills bubble warm personality really stood out for me, and yes you do get some disruptive students but find me one school that doesnt. You can tell what kind of school fearnhill hill by the fact how many students have stood up for our school on this page.

    Report this comment

    shannonx

    Saturday, March 5, 2011

  • @Betty, It does seem a shame that you prefer to resort to a personal insult rather than commend a student who is obviously passionate about their school. I find it refreshing to see that students have decided to defend their school in such an articulate way. I too make the 'odd' mistake when I am typing in anger, let's not hold it against them.

    Report this comment

    Outsider

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

  • I agree with the comment left by David, an independent observer cannot gain a full understanding of a school within a pressure filled time frame of two days. Therefore the observer will not in this time directly witness some of the work which occurs, so being able to generalise about the quality of teaching is impossible. It is obvious that fearnhill does not achieve the best grades in the world, but when you look at the catchment areas and some of the students backgrounds you will understand why. Fearnhill prides itself in being an non-selective school and will give any student the oppertunity to attend unlike some other schools which only allow entrance to people who will most likely achieve grades which will show the school in a good way. I too am a year 13 student who has benifited from the excellent staff at fearnhill at which i have had an enjoyable 7 years but have also become a better human being. This article is utterly awfull, the headline consists of one huge sweeping judgement which has not even been confirmed by either ofstead or the school and the body of the story lacks evidence and thus i can conclude this is the desperate bid by a paper that is unable to find a story, so makes one up from a series of rumours.

    Report this comment

    Reece.kirk@fearnhill.herts.sch.uk

    Friday, March 4, 2011

  • My apologies if I have offended anyone!!!!!!

    Report this comment

    betty

    Thursday, March 10, 2011

  • My name is Peter Owen and I attend Fearnhill School in year 13. Rumours are a response to actions that one would expect from young children talking about trivial things in a community environment. You wouldn’t expect this of newspapers who are supposed to be working to give the absolute truth and a good explanation of an event to the community. This report is a clear example of a complete misuse of a newspapers influence in the local community. As can be seen, it has been clearly stated that the report has not been released yet and nothing is known of the outcome for the school. The head teacher, Mr Whelan, has even been quoted to not wanting to comment due to being advised to not comment until the report is released. I will totally agree with every other student which have responded to this message so far, in saying that Fearnhill is a good school. After the seven years of education I’ve received from this school I can say that I value its learning and have enjoyed it thoroughly. I think the point has been made that, yes, we have some staff who are worse at teaching than others but every school has good and bad teachers. The teachers I have teaching me have my respect and are of a very high standard, they are engaging and really informative and are extremely talented at their subject. I would never doubt that Fearnhill has had anything lower than very good teachers. I would also say it is clearly true that unfortunately inspections such as Ofsted do not give accurate results of schools around the country, it’s a mere two days where every student is expected to be perfect and act their best and every school makes itself look good for the inspectors. From those two days a school is expected to be judged upon how effective it is at being a school and how good its teaching is. I would also like to make clear again that we have in fact got Cambridge, University College London and Imperial College acceptances for the current Year 13’s. I would advise on a public apology to those at Fearnhill and to Mr Whelan for being unprofessional and making a rumour into a so called truth, enough to even encourage the thought of Fearnhill School being on special measures.

    Report this comment

    Peter Owen

    Friday, March 4, 2011

  • I am not really surprised the school is failing if the spelling of the student comments here are anything to go by.

    Report this comment

    betty

    Monday, March 7, 2011

  • To read this piece was shocking to say the bare minimum.The term 'Troubled times' evokes the idea that the school is on some sort of crazed downward spiral into disrepute, when in fact the truth is far to the contrary. As a year 13 student I have recieved what will soon be seven years of what I deem to be far more than satisfactory education. The staff at Fearnhill are no doubt some of the finest the county, if not the country, has to offer. There is a reason Fearnhill has final year students recieving offers from Cambridge University, University College London and Imperial College London. It is hard to see how a school can be judged to be troubled when the worlds best educational facilities want to accept our students. Furthermore, I fail to understand how such sweeping judgements can be made by yourselves and indeed Ofsted, following the results of a two day pressure filled window where over one thousand human beings are expected to perform outstandingly, or be judged failures. I severly struggle to see how any student at Fearnhill school is educationally deprived, and however this paper has 'learned that a Letchworth GC school will be deemed to be failing to supply an acceptable level of education ', it is evident that they need a Fearnhill ecucation to make correct and considered quotations. Appalled.

    Report this comment

    A.Payne1

    Friday, March 4, 2011

  • Well your name says it all really doesn't it.

    Report this comment

    betty

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

  • This article published by the Comet is clearly an irresponsible and false declaration of news. To take gossip and rumours, forming it into slander and painting it up as 'news', is not only untrue and potentially harmful for the school and it's students, but also this article serves as an insult to the journalistic medium; which gives reporters and the press a bad name. And for the record "action taken to ensure strong leadership", Mr. Whelan is the best Headteacher in all of Hertfordshire and quite frankly a much larger scale than that too; furthermore the only 'troubled times' this Letchworth school is facing, is of the fault of Nick Gill from The Comet. My name is Aron Woolnough, Deputy Headboy at Fearnhill School and proud, I'm in year 12 and have been at the school for 6 years. The quality of teaching at Fearnhill School is supassed by none, for Ofsted to evaluate our school is fine, it is their job; however for a local newspaper to completely over look the system of Ofsted and leeking unconfirmed results, over looks our School's great achievements, community and great generosity of staff and students to the wider community and local and national charites. Finally, I am shocked and insulted by this report; for reasons stated previously by my peers. -Aron Woolnough.

    Report this comment

    Awoolnough

    Friday, March 4, 2011

  • Although the "Official Report" has not been disclosed I can confirm that I have had serious concerns of how the school has and is being run for sometime. I have had 4 children already pass through the educational system who did not attend Fearnhill and I have 1 child in Year 10 at Fearnhill (his choice not mine) who needs to complete his education. This school has not given my child the education he deserves and his exam result expectations drop everytime they are re-assessed, the school needs to be asked WHY???

    Report this comment

    Linda

    Friday, March 4, 2011

  • Im currently a student at fearnhill school and i can honestly say that fearnhill might not be the best academically but the teachers in fearnhill have always offered support and someone to talk to for all students no matter there age. We might have not passed this time but ofsted are there for what two days thats not long enough to see the relasioships we have between student and teachers. A day at fearnhill is never dull when you walk into school seeing mr whelan with his big cheesy grin. People writing this artical dont know the teachers students of fearnhill school. So to sum it up fearnhill is a great school and i couldnt think of a better place to spend my teen years. :)

    Report this comment

    shannonx

    Friday, March 4, 2011

  • honestly, I am a student at fearnhill, and most sixth formers will oppose me my comment, but the head and deputy head, have the wrong attitude towards there profession, they seem to punish unnecessairly, they never listen to roubled student without rushing them or making them feel unwelcome,and what i find most funny the day before ofsted arrived my year group was taken to the hall and bribed, we were tolled "one step out of line will end in a serious punishment", and on the day every teacher that i had a problem with, seem to act like my best friend, and when the teacher was told ofted were coming to my room, she got a pupil that had been naughty and bought them inside told them to sit down and forget about it, and when ofsted did come in that teacher was really nice to the pupil, just goes to show, the school was afraid of failing, and knew it was coming, they are all just just rude, my parents had a meeting with both of the head and deputy, and told my sister she was not academic and was not welcome to stay in sixth form because she couldnt reach a high grade, so they stopped her education at the school, she then had to go away and pay over £300 to get to college. that school is only about reputation, and thats how ofsted failed us, it would take me a day to see this, thats why it took 2 days.

    Report this comment

    R'J'N

    Saturday, March 5, 2011

  • To read this piece was shocking to say the bare minimum.The term 'Troubled times' evokes the idea that the school is on some sort of crazed downward spiral into disrepute, when in fact the truth is far to the contrary. As a year 13 student I have recieved what will soon be seven years of what I deem to be far more than satisfactory education. The staff at Fearnhill are no doubt some of the finest the county, if not the country, has to offer. There is a reason Fearnhill has final year students recieving offers from Cambridge University, University College London and Imperial College London. It is hard to see how a school can be judged to be troubled when the worlds best educational facilities want to accept our students. Furthermore, I fail to understand how such sweeping judgements can be made by yourselves and indeed Ofsted, following the results of a two day pressure filled window where over one thousand human beings are expected to perform outstandingly, or be judged failures. I severly struggle to see how any student at Fearnhill school is educationally deprived, and however this paper has 'learned that a Letchworth GC school will be deemed to be failing to supply an acceptable level of education ', it is evident that they need a Fearnhill ecucation to make correct and considered quotations. Appalled.

    Report this comment

    A.Payne1

    Friday, March 4, 2011

  • I love how the comet can pass judgement on a school when the official report has not even been released yet. The comments posted previously are all extremely true and this report is a disgrace. That is all. http:www.youtube.comwatch?v=-XsSoMBVF3w

    Report this comment

    Jstephenson

    Friday, March 4, 2011

  • To read this report was a shock, i attent Fearnhill school and im currently in year 13, i feel the comment that the school is “failing to supply an acceptable level of education” is an utter disgrace. How is it fair for inspectors to evaluate a school based on two days worth of visits. From personal experience i can admit that not every teacher in the school is perfect, or of a high standard, as im sure will be found in a large number of schools across the country, but i feel this is only the minority with the majority being of high standard, being able to put across teaching in a way that is easy to understand and gets the best results in which the students can achieve. Also what needs to be taken into account is that the school takes in any student, it disregards any background or mental ability, which means a number of students may have more difficulty achieving the grades at GCSE level C grade or above. The school is a warm, friendly environment, and my seven years here have been enjoyable. This newspaper article should not have been posted until Ofsted release the official public document, when Mr Whelan and other SLT's have chance to comment and argue their points fairly.

    Report this comment

    davidscoot

    Thursday, March 3, 2011

  • Yeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaah that was good Betty

    Report this comment

    SunnyChahal

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

  • Betty, judging by your comments i'd imagine you haven't had any recent experience in the British education system. It appears you are taking this piece of unsubstantiated nonsense as fact and that to me, demonstrates how clueless you truly are. You tend to neglect that a typing error and spelling mistake are two different entities, and this is evident on this website, as students were typing in rage at this article. I can happily say my education and command of the English language is good, gaining two A grades at GCSE and currently taking A-level ; thanks to Fearnhill school. Perhaps if you researched the criteria and processes of OFSTED you would understand the harsh judgement this school has faced. Furthermore and finally, perhaps it would help this situation of the school if bored people such as yourself spent less time on computers commenting on subjects which you have no knowledge about, and made a positive contribution to society.

    Report this comment

    A.Payne1

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

  • My eldest daughter, who is now 27, attended Fearnhill as do two of my children now and I have to say that standards have declined. My son constantly complains about the lack of support, and the constant burble to stretch out a lesson. The SENCO department is extremely slow at dealing with the educational needs of some, and bullying is rife! If this report does turn out to be correct, then it could well be what Fearnhill needs to put it back to the school it once was.

    Report this comment

    Lisa_67

    Friday, March 4, 2011

  • Personally, I have to disagree with you all, and agree with the report - sorry! I went to Fearnhill, hated it, and left after just two years of sticking it out there. I will give credit to some of the teachers though - some were very good, and worthy of a lot of praise, but many were incapable, and should not be allowed to look after, never mind teach a group of children. The pupils were mainly rather rowdy, disruptive and disrespectful, and I found I did not learn much at all. The level, quality and quantity of teaching, I felt was appauling, at primary school I had always been either average, or near the bottom of ability level, but at Fearnhill, I found myself continually being overcome with boredom at the simplicity of the lessons, and the small amount that the teachers somehow managed to stretch and elongate into an hours lesson, while the majority of the lesson was desperately trying to disipline unruly children, who's behaviour should have been sorted out by the school a long time ago. I thought that Frearnhill was bad when I was there - that is the main reason I left - but now that I go to a different school, I have realised quite how terrible it really is. I'm not the only one who thinks this way, I know of many others who have both been to the school, and are at the school who feel the same way as me. I sincerely hope, that these rumours come true, so that actions can be put in place for the benifit of those who have to suffer because of it.

    Report this comment

    EVAO195

    Friday, March 4, 2011

  • untrue* .....woops

    Report this comment

    SamJohnson

    Friday, March 4, 2011

  • Just wanted to say, I've personally enjoyed my 6 years at Fearnhill, I intend to stay my last year and if I had the chance to start again and pick another school, I wouldn't. I'm quite upset about this article to be honest, as are most of the people that attend our school.

    Report this comment

    Leonie

    Sunday, March 6, 2011

  • Betty, judging by your comments i'd imagine you haven't had any recent experience in the British education system. It appears you are taking this piece of unsubstantiated nonsense as fact and that to me, demonstrates how clueless you truly are. You tend to neglect that a typing error and spelling mistake are two different entities, and this is evident on this website, as students were typing in rage at this article. I can happily say my education and command of the English language is good, gaining two A grades at GCSE and currently taking A-level ; thanks to Fearnhill school. Perhaps if you researched the criteria and processes of OFSTED you would understand the harsh judgement this school has faced. Furthermore and finally, perhaps it would help this situation of the school if bored people such as yourself spent less time on computers commenting on subjects which you have no knowledge about, and made a positive contribution to society.

    Report this comment

    A.Payne1

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

  • I love rumours that make it into the news, and personally I feel like the comet has passed an unfair judgement up on a school which is one of the first schools in the comet coverage, which I doubt Mr.gill has had a fair view of and I am quite appalled by the complete misuse of a local community’s newspaper position and status within the community, on a very touchy subject as education on presumptions. Now as previously said in the comment’s section about the two day examination period, it isn’t fair on the school on how ten or so people can pass fair judgement upon a school which has many different teachers, teaching styles and classes. Especially when they produce a hypothesis about the school before hand and only come into the school to see if that hypothesis is correct, so they have already made up their mind’s what they want see. There is also the English baccalaureate which was introduced this year and based their results on the year before, so unless anyone has a time machine, how are teacher’s meant to prepare for the past, and the English Baccalaureate results was a basis for the aforementioned hypothesis of the Ofsted inspection. What I really want to know is how this rumour got on to the front page and was one of the top stories on the website. I would still really like to know why there was hardly any evidence for the school to have a bad report. But what strike me the most is the fact that you essentially quoted a ‘no comment’. Hey I heard that it was going to snow next month, want to put that on your front cover?

    Report this comment

    David323

    Friday, March 4, 2011

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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