Lincoln school put in special measures for poor leadership and management

A secondary school in a Lincoln village has been criticised for its leadership and failure to keep pupils safe in a recent Ofsted inspection.

Inspectors visited Cherry Willingham Community School earlier this year, ranking the comprehensive as “inadequate”, the lowest possible rating.

Particular concern was raised about the leadership and management of the school and the lack of action taken to address “persistent disruptive behaviour” in the classroom.

The inspection also found that the school’s work to keep students safe is inadequate.

Inspectors said that pupils felt that they could not report bullying behaviour or homophobic and derogatory language, and had to “put up with it.”

They added: “Too many students reported that they had little confidence that anyone in the school would effectively deal with their concerns, especially about bullying.

“Some suggested that teachers were more likely to advise them to ‘keep away’ from perpetrators than deal with the concerns. A few commented, ‘Teachers don’t listen to us.’

“A few students told inspectors categorically that they did not always feel safe in the school. Some boys say they fear being ‘jumped’ by others.”

Additional concerns were raised about the achievement of pupils in maths and science, which were below the national average.

However, the quality of teaching was rated as “good”, with inspectors especially praising the progress made by students in English and modern foreign languages.

Improvements have also been made in the teaching of other subjects compared to the previous Ofsted inspection in November 2014.

“Many more students are making better progress than before. Better teaching and a much more effective tracking and monitoring system this year have contributed to improved progress and effective targeted intervention,” inspectors wrote.

“The teachers are plugging the gaps in students’ understanding and knowledge of examination techniques much more successfully.”

Despite this, the overall picture has deteriorated since last year, when the school was rated as requiring improvement.

Elaine Stiles, headteacher at Cherry Willingham Community School, said: “We are disappointed by the grading as a lot of good work has already taken place to tackle some of the areas where improvement is needed since the inspection was carried out.

“Students’ achievement is improving across a range of subjects compared to 2014 and teaching is mostly good but improving rapidly. We acknowledge that in some areas we do need to improve but as I have said, we are ahead of the game in making good progress since the inspection was carried out.

“Building on the strengths of the school highlighted by Ofsted and with the support of my staff and the governing body we can make quick progress to move out of special measures.”

To address the problems highlighted in the report, the school will have statutory safeguarding arrangements in place for when students return from the summer break.

A new pastoral structure will be introduced by September which will be linked to specific year groups, working towards the Bullying Intervention Group National Award.

The school added that it has also conducted a “root and branch review” of its behaviour systems.