Hartlepool school told by Ofsted it ‘requires improvement’

Headteacher at English Martyrs  School & Sixth Form College, Stephen Hammond.
Headteacher at English Martyrs School & Sixth Form College, Stephen Hammond.

A Hartlepool secondary school has been told it must improve after a Government watchdogs found failings in a host of areas.

A team of eight Ofsted inspectors visited English Martyrs School and Sixth Form College, in Catcote Road, on May 17 and 18.

Teachers do not challenge poorly presented and sloppy work consistently and some teachers’ expectations of what pupils can do are too low

Ofsted report

The document concludes that the institution, led by headteacher Stephen Hammond – which has 1,513 pupils – as a whole ‘requires improvement’.

This conclusion also applies to three individual inspection categories – overall effectiveness of leadership and management; and quality of teaching, learning and assessment.

Two areas were rated ‘good’ – personal development, behaviour and welfare; and 16 to 19 study programmes.

Mr Hammond said the findings reflect higher standards of Ofsted and is confident of addressing the areas for improvement before their next inspection.

The report states: “This is a school that requires improvement. Leaders have not sustained the pupils’ good rates of progress seen at the time of the last inspection.

“Standards fell sharply after that time and have yet to recover fully.

“Pupils’ progress from their above-average starting points into school has not been good enough, particularly in science.

“Despite recent improvements, the quality of teaching has been too variable across and within subjects and classes over time.

“Consequently, not all pupils achieve as well as they should. Teachers do not challenge poorly presented and sloppy work consistently.

“Some teachers’ expectations of what pupils can do are too low.”

It adds: “Support for pupils who require additional support for their special educational needs and/or disabilities is inconsistent, resulting in varying rates of progress over time.

“Until recently, absence and temporary exclusion rates for disadvantaged pupils have been too high.

“The headteacher’s reports to directors contain insufficient information about the progress of disadvantaged pupils.”

However, the school did receive praise for areas including its Sixth Form and Catholic ethos.

The report reads: “Directors and governors embrace the headteacher’s vision for improvement.

“Actions they are taking are making a positive difference but it is too soon to see their full impact.

”The sixth form is good. Improvements to the quality of provision are ensuring that current students are making good progress in their learning.

“Progress in art is excellent. The Catholic ethos lies at the heart of the school’s work.

“It promotes pupils’ personal qualities and their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development successfully.

“Pupils feel safe, are polite and usually behave well.

”Strong careers advice and guidance contribute to the high proportion of pupils moving on to their chosen destinations successfully.”

Academy ‘has right things in place’, headteacher told.

The school’s headteacher Stephen Hammond says the school will continue to improve.

Mr Hammond said: “The judgements reflect the very high standards expected under the most recent Ofsted inspection framework (September 2016) which places a much greater emphasis on the performance of disadvantaged pupils compared with all pupils nationally. 

“I am very happy that the education of young people in our care should be subjected to the most rigorous scrutiny.”

Regarding pupils’ progress between Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4, Mr Hammond said: “We currently have a very strong team of teachers with subject leaders increasingly confident about the quality of teaching and learning in their departments.

“I strongly believe that we will continue to improve in this key performance measure and that this will be securely positive over the next couple of years.”

He said inconsistency of practice and standards within and between departments will be quickly addressed.

Mr Hammond added: “As the Lead Inspector said to me ‘The Academy has all the right things in place and the green shoots are beginning to appear’.”