School taking steps in turning things around

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A high school that was put into special measures has taken its first positive steps after a report from Her Majesty’s Inspectors.

Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School (HLHS) was insepected last month and is taking the right steps towards turning the school around.

The latest report by Michael Maddison said both the post Ofsted action plan and statement of action are fit for purpose.

The inspectors also recognised the school’s determination to improve and quickly remove the school from special measures.

Commenting on the report Helen Morgan, head teacher at HLHS said: “We are quickly making the changes needed to transform HLHS into an outstanding place to learn.

“Our focus is on ensuring that all students enjoy their education and make exceptional progress from their different starting points.

“Our results this summer show that we are already making progress, with all key measures showing improvement. The gap between those students eligible for the Pupil Premium and their peers is closing.

“This highlights our commitment to ensuring that socio-economic deprivation is not a barrier to achievement.”

In the report, recommendations were made to aid their progress.

It said the implementation of the post-Ofsted strategic plan “would benefit considerably from embedding the milestones against which progress can be measured within each appropriate section of the plan checking that the timescales for all actions do not create unmanageable pressure points”.

It also said the school should ensure, at the stated review points, that senior leaders and governors focus on the evaluation of actions, rather than their completion, and that they use the outcomes of this assessment to determine the next steps and create a comprehensive professional development training programme for teachers, leaders and governors.

HLHS was placed into special measures earlier this year and is required to be sponsored by another school.

The aim is for both schools to work closely together to raise standards.

The school is working with the Department for Education (DfE) to confirm an appropriate sponsor.

Governors have met with the DfE and expressed a preference for Abbey Grange Academy, Leeds, to be the partner sponsor, because of its academic success and track record of sustained improvement.

Speaking about the sponsor, Ms Morgan said: “We have a strong professional working relationship with Abbey Grange, having worked with them between 2009 and 2011, during which time we progressed from a satisfactory to good Ofsted rating.

“My focus is on delivering the best possible outcome for our students and I believe that the team at Abbey Grange will provide challenge and support for HLHS in achieving this goal.”

Abbey Grange recently announced its best ever results for GSCE and A-level.

The school is rated as good by Ofsted and recognised for its sustained high academic standards.

Governors at HLHS have appointed Dr Wendy Bradford, an experienced consultant headteacher, as an interim advisor to challenge and support the school to improve leadership and teaching standards.