New Hartlepool headteacher accelerates 'school's improvement journey', says report

The new headteacher at a Hartlepool secondary school and college is speeding up its journey towards improvement.

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 1:57 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 2:15 pm

Within weeks they received a visit from Ofsted to see what the school is doing to improve its rating of “requires Improvement” it received in July 2019.

Following the rating, English Martyrs drew up ambitious to review all aspects of learning and delivery.

English Martyrs headteacher Sara Crawshaw.

But their implementation was hit by the Covid pandemic and the need for online education.

Inspector Malcolm Kirtley acknowledged a number of efforts the school is making to improve to a "good” rating but said more effective action was still needed by leaders and those responsible for school governance.

In a report letter to Mrs Crawshaw, Mr Kirtley said: “Since your appointment, you have accelerated the school’s improvement journey.

“Before formally taking up post, you worked with leaders to refine curriculum plans.

English Martyrs new school building.

"With your new deputy headteacher, you are bringing greater consistency to curriculum planning.

"You are now working with your team to check how these plans are working in the classroom.

"This is creating a momentum for greater improvement.”

English Martyrs has appointed four lead practitioners since its last inspection, joined the Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust in April last year and formed a new governing body.

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The report said subject leaders have worked with the Durham local authority advisory team and the trust’s own subject directors to develop and enhance curriculum plans.

It also highlighted that pupils were beginning to see the impact of new strategies.

Mr Kirtley added: “They described how teachers check their understanding at the start of lessons.

"They feel that homework is used in a more focused way to reinforce learning.

"Year 11 pupils feel that the quality of teaching is improving.”

The school also has plans in place to make reading an important curriculum focus.

Dame Maura Regan, chief executive of the Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust, said: “We are pleased the report recognises the rapid improvements made in recent months since the pandemic.

"We have clear objectives in our sights and with the unrelenting support of students, parents and staff we are looking forward immensely to a bright future.”

Ofsted says English Martyrs should take further action to accelerate the implementation of curriculum plans to improve the quality of education for all pupils.

It also says it should ensure that the new governing body and trust leaders have a stronger focus on how well leaders are addressing the areas identified for improvement.

Mrs Crawshaw added: “We always welcome feedback from inspectors and are pleased that they have recognised the backdrop of Covid which has mitigated our efforts until now.

“We have high aspirations for all of our students, both academically and for them to fulfil any passions they have, whether that is in sport, the arts or chosen vocations.

"We are striving to grow these opportunities post-Covid and, while there is still plenty to do, we are thoroughly convinced that it is doable.”

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