Letchworth school placed on special measures by Ofsted

A SCHOOL which received a ‘good’ rating at its last Ofsted inspection has been placed on special measures for “failing to give its students an acceptable standard of education”, an official report confirmed today (Wednesday).

Fearnhill School in Letchworth GC received ‘unacceptable’ ratings for the overall effectiveness for the school and its capacity for sustained improvement, as reported by The Comet last week.

The Ofsted report, based on a two day inspection at the Icknield Way secondary school on February 2 and 3, said: “Her Majesty’s chief inspector is of the opinion that this school requires special measures because it is failing to give its students an acceptable standard of education and the persons responsible for leading, managing or governing the school are not demonstrating the capacity to secure the necessary improvement.

“Improvement since the last inspection is inadequate. The previous inspection judged the school’s overall effectiveness as good and the school was asked to improve the consistency of teaching across subjects by sharing good practice more frequently and effectively.

“The school was also required to develop the curriculum further, to promote personalised learning and fulfil individual needs and aspirations.

“While the headteacher and the deputy headteacher have shown great determination in the last year to prioritise actions in these areas, monitoring of practice has not been timely or effective and the school as a whole lacks the capacity to tackle these priorities effectively.”

Responding to the report, headteacher Jed Whelan told The Comet: “Everybody at Fearnhill School is very disappointed at the outcomes of the inspection report and we realise it will come as a shock to students, parents and the local community.

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“The local authority and governors have clearly indicated their support for me as headteacher and have provided a support package for the school to assist in accelerating the improvements needed.

“The students remain our absolute priority and we are confident that with these measures in place and everyone associated with the school working together we will deliver the improvements for them.

“While the school was judged to be making satisfactory progress with respect to student safety, behaviour and attendance we are concerned that the two day inspection and subsequent report chose not to highlight and evidence other achievements.

“It did not capture the many successes of our students, the wider life of the school, other opportunities we deliver, and the steps for improvement we had already identified ourselves and started to put in place.

“We intend to restore the faith of our parents and community partners during this next year and will leave no stone unturned; our students deserve nothing less.”

Commenting on last week’s story on our website, ‘Linda’ said: “I have had four children already pass through the educational system who did not attend Fearnhill and I have one 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 every time they are re-assessed, the school needs to be asked WHY???”

Another commenter, ‘Peter Owen’, who has attended the school for the last seven years, said: “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.”

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