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Head confident for the future after shock Ofsted report
Sunday 16th February 2014 @ 09:00 by Max Wieland
WEST HILL: Placed into special measures by Ofsted.

WEST HILL: Placed into special measures by Ofsted.

Stalybridge West Hill School headteacher Robert Hewitt says he is confident they will bounce back after a shock
Ofsted report.

The school, previously ranked as having ‘outstanding features’ has been placed into special measures after inspectors issued the surprise report on its overall effectiveness last week.

The school was given an overall rating of four; the lowest score available to OFSTED (Office for Standards in Education) inspectors, meaning the all-boys school is considered ‘Inadequate.’

Mr Hewitt said: “We are obviously all very disappointed because we were not expecting that judgement.

“Despite last year’s dip in results they were just a one-off, and it was the first time we had dipped below the national average in many years.”

“Even with our results declining in 2011 and 2012, we were still well above the national average and I have every confidence in the young men of Year 11 this year bucking the blip of last year.”

Mr Hewitt added: “When the report came through the whole school, including the staff, were obviously very disappointed, but that said, I am still very proud to say I am the headteacher of West Hill.

“The staff’s response was obviously at first shock, but then the next question was: ‘What do we do to put this right?’

“We knew the new standards OFSTED have introduced would be tough and our answer to that was to rise to the challenge, so to be put in special measures was clearly unexpected.”

Inspectors did note in their report that: “Students benefit from a wide range of enrichment activities and clubs,” in addition to other strengths such as the “promotion of high moral standards” and that “students receive high-quality information and advice about their next steps in education, training or employment”.

Among those highlights are life-changing extra-curricular activities like the Duke of Edinburgh scheme at the school, something highlighted in recent editions of the Reporter and Chronicle.

However, of the four sub-categories in the inspectors’ report, three were ranked as inadequate with the only positive coming from the fact that the behaviour and safety of pupils was marked as good.

Key findings noted that over recent years ‘students have not made the progress they ought to have made’, teaching overall ‘is inadequate’ and that standards by the end of Year 11 have been ‘declining for three years, indicative of the academy’s overall decline.’

Being placed in special measures means the school will now be subject to regular monitoring by OFSTED inspectors, however, that is something that will be of benefit to the school according to Mr Hewitt.

“It will ultimately make us stronger and I expect as a result that our high standards will go even higher,” he said.

“I am very confident that West Hill will do better overall in the future because we still stand for the same principles and ethos that we always have and we believe that we are still producing excellent young men with a great amount of opportunities available to them.

“We are also very grateful for all the positive and supportive messages we continue to receive from parents.”