'Inadequate' Pontefract secondary school praised by Ofsted for improvements made

Carleton High School was placed in special measures last year.
Carleton High School was placed in special measures last year.

A secondary school that was rated inadequate by Ofsted in 2017 is making progress towards being removed from special measures.

The education regulator said that leaders at Carleton High School in Pontefract were taking "effective action" to address the serious failings previously highlighted.

A report from a focused inspection by Ofsted, which took place last month, revealed that despite a "significant turnover" of staff, teachers were rising to the challenge of improving the school, which is part of the Pontefract Academies Trust.

It also said that pupils' behaviour had got better, and that issues with children's conduct were now dealt with consistently across the school.

However, the inspector added that there were still areas where the school was falling short. She described results for Year 11 pupils in 2018 as "very disappointing", which she said was a result of a legacy of weaker teaching.

The report said: "The quality of teaching continues to improve.

"There are now consistent starts and ends to lessons, in line with whole-school expectations. Teachers convey that time is precious and there is no time to waste.

"Teacher expectations are rising too. Leaders have improved targets set for pupils. This is helping teachers 'up their game' and understand that their pupils are far more capable than they may have realised.

"However, in other classrooms, some teachers are accepting of work that could - and should - be of higher quality. For some teachers, their comments aimed at improving presentation are falling on deaf ears."

Ofsted's original report in January 2017 was highly critical of several aspects of Carleton High.

Governors were told they were not holding senior leaders to account well enough, and staff were told to slash the number of fixed-term exclusions being handed out to pupils.

School leaders are now hopeful that they could be taken out of special measures next year.

In a statement responding to Ofsted's findings, Carleton head teacher Jo Cross said: "Students have only one opportunity to receive a first class education, and I feel very proud that the Ofsted report fully reflects the significant improvements that Carleton High School has made in a short space of time.

"Our staff continue to be committed to doing whatever it takes to make sure our students, no matter what their starting point or background, get the chance in life that they deserve.

"This year continues to be a very exciting time for our students as Carleton High School continues on its journey to becoming an Outstanding school."

Local Democracy Reporting Service