Ofsted joy for Ulverston Victoria High School

OFSTED inspectors have rated Ulverston Victoria High School as good, with outstanding features.

The school, which has 1,180 pupils and was previously judged as outstanding, was examined over a two-day period in late November under stricter new guidelines.

Inspectors said UVHS was outstanding for behaviour and safety of pupils, as well as leadership and management. Pupils’ achievement and quality of teaching was rated good.

Bosses at the school were keen to stress how tough the new guidelines make it for schools to achieve an outstanding rating.

“Our recent Ofsted was set in the context of a new amazingly challenging framework, which many parents would find baffling and frustrating, particularly in its obsession with precon-ception, dubious data and its determination to prior-itise its focus on the progress of the few against the successes of the many,” read a joint statement from head Denis Fay and assistant head Roger Cahalin.

“In achieving such a pleas- ing report, with really sign-ificant outstanding aspects, we judge our success as being far in advance of our ‘outstanding’ in a past framework.”

It added: “Two-and-a-half years on we know we are a much better school than that which got the ‘outstanding’ in a record time.

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“Parents will be particularly delighted in the award of ‘outstanding’ for their children’s behaviour, and for the way in which the school keeps them safe.

“Ofsted described the school as a very secure base for its students, and the lead inspector told me UVHS is a lovely school, and that our children are impressive and a pleasure to be with.

“New parents sending their children to UVHS will be particularly heartened by this aspect as surveys show that behaviour and safety is of paramount importan-ce when parents carry out the act of trust in placing their children in a second-ary school.”

The inspectors found, among other things, that:

* Teachers are very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the subjects they teach

* Attendance is above average, and continues to improve. Students are very punctual to school and to lessons. Exclusions are rare

* The sixth form is good. Students make good progress and achieve well

The school was not judged as ‘outstanding’ because:

* In a small minority of lessons, teachers do not move students on to the next task quickly enough, or give them sufficient opportunities to work independently, share their ideas and assess their own and each other’s work.

* Small differences in the rate of progress remain between students supported by the pupil premium and other students.

Mr Cahalin added that, to the best of his knowledge, from September to December, 470 secondary schools have been inspected, and only four per cent were considered ‘outstanding’. Under the last framework, he said 18 per cent of schools were considered the top level.

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