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Chris Galley

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Sunday 15 February – Worrying Ofsted reports for Ashington High School

The local media is reporting that Ashington High School has received an advance copy of an Ofsted report, placing the school in Special Measures. This implies Ofsted’s overall Ranking for the school was the lowest, namely “Inadequate”. A very worrying outcome and urgent corrective action is going to be needed. The whole community will need to constructively support the School in it’s difficult journey ahead.

AshingtonHighSchool

The report won’t be put online for a few more days, so I can’t see any of the details behind this, but it represents a big blow to the school, since the previous report – just over 2 years ago – gave the school a “Good” judgement in all of Ofsted’s four categories, giving the same result in the Overall rating.

Without knowing the details it is difficult to give much comment, other than that clearly this must be a massive disappointment to the school, and comes in the wake of several poor reports for other schools in the North East.

There is some element of subjectiveness in these reports. For example I noticed that Ashington Church of England Academy was given (in October 2013) a “Requires Improvement” ranking – in between Good and Inadequate – despite the fact that the fundamental data seemed slightly better than that of the High School. The previous “Good” report for the High School made only passing reference to the poor attendance figures for the school. So my suspicion is that the previous report was possibly generous and this report has perhaps gone too heavily the other direction.

I was not very surprised that Ian Lavery MP managed to suggest – with obviously zero evidence – that perhaps North East schools were being deprived of investment. This is self evidently rubbish since – to take one example – the Academy is a brand new build, and despite massive investment it too has a less than perfect score.

It inevitably falls mainly to the staff, parents and pupils of Ashington High School to take this report on the chin, and work with the relevant experts to extricate itself from this position. The good news is that the School has already acknowledged this and seems ready to take on the challenge. At least there is now a tough level of accountability for school performance, and a political consensus that the best way out is to roll up the sleeves and get on with improvement.

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