Hunstanton secondary school rated good in new inspection report

Education news from the Lynn News,, @lynnnewscitizen on Twitter
Education news from the Lynn News,, @lynnnewscitizen on Twitter
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A school head has said he feels “vindicated” after his school was graded as good in a new inspection report.

The latest findings on the Smithdon High School in Hunstanton, which were released to parents this week, came almost three years after the school was first put into special measures by Ofsted.

And headteacher Jon Goodchild said the report was a “sparkling” way for him to stand down from his current post at the end of term later this month.

He revealed that he had initially raised concerns about the problems the school faced when he first became headteacher there in 2004.

He said of the report: “It’s a vindication of my core beliefs that you can’t do things quickly to turn schools around and turn them around properly requires time.

“It’s really important that schools are given time to turn things round.”

The new report follows a two-day visit by a team of four inspectors, who observed more than 30 lessons and held talks with senior staff, governors and students’ representatives, last month.

The document said teaching had improved because of strong evaluation systems which had been put in place to monitor standards, plus good support and training.

Pupils’ achievement was also classed as good, with specific praise for the tracking systems used to provide additional support where it is needed.

Lead inspector Jalil Shaikh continued: “Students show high levels of respect and tolerance for other cultures and religions and are well prepared for life in modern Britain.”

And there was further praise for the school’s senior management and governors, of whom the report said: “They are highly ambitious for the school’s further improvement and have high expectations of staff and students.”

Mr Goodchild, who will remain at the school as a maths and physics teacher, said the report showed the school, which was deemed inadequate by Ofsted as recently in July 2011, was well positioned to go on to even greater successes in the future under his successor, Paul Marsh.

To improve further, the report called for sharper checking of work during lessons so that students can progress more quickly.

The inspectors recommended improved marking and written feedback so that pupils are better able to understand how to improve their work and more challenging tasks in science classes so more students can achieve top grades at GCSE.

And they also called for additional measures to make sure students are fully engaged so that low-level disruption is eliminated

But Mr Goodchild said: “We’re in a really good place. The target now has to be outstanding.”