Top GCSE grades but Portsmouth’s Catholic school gets a poor rating

DETERMINED Headteacher at St Edmund's Catholic School Simon Graham, with from left, pupils William Shore, Asher Ajayi,  Brandy Hodgkins and Jessica Howes.  Picture: Allan Hutchings (113953-915)
DETERMINED Headteacher at St Edmund's Catholic School Simon Graham, with from left, pupils William Shore, Asher Ajayi, Brandy Hodgkins and Jessica Howes. Picture: Allan Hutchings (113953-915)

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PORTSMOUTH’S only Catholic secondary school that celebrated a major comeback with its GCSE results this year has been given notice to improve.

Despite achieving the fourth best exam results across the city’s state schools this summer, St Edmund’s in Landport was placed in the worst category.

It has been set targets by Ofsted which it must hit before its grade will improve.

New head Simon Graham admitted he was disappointed with the judgment that relied on the two previous year’s results which included the former head resigning and the appointment of an interim head.

He said: ‘The report reads very well but the headline grade, which is based primarily on historic exam results, is very disappointing.

‘I accept we should be hitting national average pass rates, but this summer the school came a long way after two years of unacceptable grades.

‘If the inspectors had visited us in January, when this year’s results would have been validated, then we would have had a different grade.’

In the summer 48 per cent of its pupils received five A* to C passes including English and maths. The national average is 58 per cent.

The Ofsted report highlights the rising proportion of good and better teaching at St Edmund’s, leaders successfully tackling behavioural issues, and improved attendance levels’.

But it was given the low grading because of ‘a high percentage of inadequate and satisfactory teaching in recent years’.

Mr Graham, 42, who was previously deputy head at an outstanding school in Southampton, said: ‘Ofsted recognised outstanding teaching across a range of subjects including English, French, religious education and geography and our test is to emulate that in other areas across the school.

‘We will be appointing teaching champions to help colleagues move from satisfactory to good and better, because I want to ensure that every child achieves their full potential.’

He added: ‘The Ofsted is not the ideal start to my headship but in a year’s time I’m confident we’ll move out of this category and I will be fighting to get recognised as a good school and ultimately an outstanding school.’