Headteacher’s anger as Waterlooville school drops a grade

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A SCHOOL which had GCSE results among the best in the country has been downgraded by Ofsted.

Crookhorn College of Technology in Waterlooville has fallen from good to satisfactory in its latest government inspection.

It is one of a growing number of schools across the area that are seeing their grades slip in the wake of tougher Ofsted guidelines introduced in January.

Headteacher Grahame Sammons said: ‘I’m unhappy with the satisfactory grade because we are good.

‘In 2011, we were put in the top five per cent of schools nationally given our pupils’ starting points.

‘But Ofsted looks for how we are doing according to the national average and the gap is 10 per cent.

‘In my view, this school is in a stronger position today than it’s ever been.’

Crookhorn has historically taken in pupils with ‘well below average starting points’ – which was noted by inspectors.

Last year, the school’s pass rate for five good GCSEs was 47 per cent – 11 per cent behind the England average.

Boys alone achieved a 55 per cent pass rate, but just 39 per cent of girls made the grade due to poor maths results.

Mr Sammons says the 2011 year group was the school’s weakest in a decade. He added: ‘We had a handful of girls who made a significant impact on the results.

‘But we’ve put things in place to address attendance and support girls in lessons – when underachievement is detected we’re acting fast. This year we know they’ll do considerably better.’

Despite criticising satisfactory lessons where teachers dominate, inspectors recognised examples of ‘good and outstanding teaching’ and said outcomes for children with special needs were ‘improving significantly’.

Mr Sammons described steps taken to improve teaching, including staff training days and extensive work to ensure lessons are pitched at the right level.

As a result, there is more work with groups rather than whole class teaching, and lessons are broken up into ‘short, sharp’ activities to keep students engaged.

The school is investing in a range of programmes for 11 to 14-year-olds to boost literacy, and it provides ‘nurture groups’ to motivate youngsters.

Mr Sammons said: ‘We are taking the Ofsted very seriously.

‘We will improve teaching even more than we have done. If expected progress isn’t good enough for Ofsted, we’ll exceed that.’