Ofsted Monitoring Visit
St Dunstan’s School Rapidly Becomes Good!
Ofsted inspectors visiting St Dunstan’s this month have praised the rapid and significant progress that the school has made.
In particular, they commented on the ways that school leaders and managers are taking effective action towards the school being re-graded. One specific area noted was that the school improvement plan is “fit for purpose” and has “clear, well considered actions that will bring about rapid improvement. The plan is well understood by members of staff and governors who have the responsibility to implement the actions and monitor their effectiveness. Senior leaders and governors keep a close eye on the improvement plan. As a result, many of the actions have been completed and the impact is beginning to be seen.”
Another significant factor in the improvement of the school is the strong leadership. Ofsted said “The headteacher leads the school with drive, determination and ambition.” They also pointed out that Mr Howard had a “clear understanding of the school’s strengths and weaknesses” and that, in light of this knowledge, he “has effectively prioritised actions to improve pupils’ wellbeing and their academic achievement.”
Further comment was made on the fact that “leaders and governors have invested heavily in the school site”; the investment, refurbishments and changes “have made the school a pleasant place to learn.” In terms of safeguarding “the security of the site has been a high priority and the changes made ensure pupils are kept safe”. The inspectors were impressed that particular attention is paid to the well-being of pupils at risk of harm. New systems that have been introduced have “ensured that standards have risen, attitudes to learning are more positive and the need for sanctions has fallen.”
Headteacher, Mr Keith Howard said “I am really pleased that inspectors have recognised the significant progress made this year and I am confident the school will be ready for re-grading to ‘Good’ in the very near future. We will continue to develop the school further to ensure students get the best possible education in a caring small school environment. I would like to thank all students, parents and staff for their ongoing support in raising standards and ensuring Glastonbury has a secondary school to be proud of”
In terms of teaching and learning, it was noted that “leaders have brought about significant improvements in the quality of teaching, learning and assessment since the previous monitoring inspection. The most able pupils show very positive attitudes to their learning” and “the feedback they receive is helping this group make strong progress.” Across the school “the focus on improving pupils’ spelling, punctuation and grammar is resulting in better quality writing” and “pupils’ engagement in their learning is generally strong.” As a result of the improvements made the inspectors declared that the school “may appoint newly qualified teachers.”
Inspectors were impressed by the fact that “the school has a calm atmosphere where pupils show respect for one another and for adults. Pupils have strong relationships with their teachers and other members of staff. They rightly have trust and confidence in them.”
It was noted that “staff positively promote equality and diversity across the school. Pupils talk about memorable assemblies” about “keeping themselves safe” and “about lifestyles that may be different to their own”.
Mental health was observed to be given due consideration in the school “leaders have ensured particularly good support for pupils who have mental health needs. Professionals work with a number of pupils during the school day to help them manage their own specific needs.” As well as this, “the school makes alternative provision for a very small number of pupils.”
Another positive point from the report was that “Behaviour overall is improving” and that “exclusions are falling and relatively few pupils are repeatedly being excluded.”
Alongside the improvements in behaviour, “attendance is improving” – “a range of strategies are in place, including the involvement of the partnership’s in-house education welfare officer and the local authority, to improve this further.”
Inspectors also noted that “overall pupils are making better progress than they have done historically in most subjects.”
Moving forward, the inspectors commented on the support received from the Midsomer Norton Schools’ Partnership. They noted that the ongoing support is “particularly effective in the sharing of resources and staff training.” They were also pleased that “The CEO provides high levels of challenge and support, particularly to senior leaders”. As well as support from the CEO, “Governors also make good use of an independent school improvement consultant who provides detailed reports on the progress the school is making and a separate consultant who reviews safeguarding arrangements.”