Secondary school downgraded to 'requires improvement' Ofsted

Settlebeck School had its Ofsted downgraded from good to requires improvement <i>(Image: Google Maps)</i>
Settlebeck School had its Ofsted downgraded from good to requires improvement (Image: Google Maps)

A SECONDARY-comprehensive in Sedbergh has received a 'requires improvement' Ofsted rating.

It was the first time the school had a full inspection in nearly ten years. In its last full inspection in 2013, it received a good rating and maintained its rating after a short inspection in 2018.

However, the latest report based on an inspection on 28 and 29 March 2023 downgraded its overall grade to requires improvement.

Much of the Ofsted report praised the school for setting high expectations for pupil behaviour and offering opportunities to join clubs and charitable projects, and said: "Very little learning is lost due to poor behaviour." However, the report said: "Despite leaders wanting the best for pupils, some do not achieve well. This is because the curriculum in some subjects is not well designed or ambitious enough to help them succeed."

The report pointed to issues such as pupils not studying "the full suite of English Baccalaureate subjects." It continued: "The key content that pupils should learn, and when they should learn it, has not been identified. This prevents teachers from building on pupils' prior knowledge. As a result, pupils' learning is not secure over time.

"Teachers have begun to identify pupils who have gaps in their reading knowledge. That said, these pupils do not get the support that they need to help them catch up. This hinders some pupils from becoming fluent and confident readers.

"There are limited opportunities for pupils to learn about life in modern Britain. As a result, pupils’ understanding of democracy and the rule of law is limited. The quality of careers advice and guidance is also restricted. Pupils do not have enough information about the world of work. They have a narrow understanding of career pathways and technical qualifications. This means pupils are not as well prepared as they should be for their next steps."

Peter Irvine, the chair of the trust board for Settlebeck School said: "During their visit, the inspectors found much to praise across the school, including the ethos of high expectations, collective sense of community and the strength of relationships between students and staff. As the report highlights, this ensures that our students feel safe as part of a caring community, enjoy their learning and take an active part in school life.

"The inspectors judged the behaviour and attitudes of our students to be ‘Good’. They have, however, concluded that improvement is needed in some aspects of the curriculum including personal development and careers, which has led to an overall judgement of ‘Requires Improvement’. We are naturally disappointed with the outcome of the inspection but are fully aware of where further work is required.

"Inspectors acknowledged that much of this work was already underway prior to the inspection. We are confident that we can quickly address the areas highlighted by Ofsted to ensure that all students achieve well and can access an ambitious curriculum.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank our committed staff, governors as indicated in the report have the expertise in supporting the school; it is in a strong position to deliver on the improvement required and to continue to thrive."