Harris School’s failure revealed

Harris School
Harris School

Harris School’s new headteacher has said she is confident the school can soon be rated outstanding after it was put in special measures last month.

The full extent of the failures at Harris School were laid bare last week when Ofsted published the inspection that led to the sudden departure of its head teacher in April.

The school was found to be ‘inadequate’ - the worst on Ofsted’s scale - in all inspection judgements bar one, the behaviour and safety of pupils. The achievement of pupils, the quality of teaching and leadership and management were all at the bottom of the scale, meaning overall the school was deemed inadequate and placed in special measures.

Inspectors found that prior to an Interim Executive Board (IEB) replacing the school governors in January 2013, “there was little evidence that the governing body provided appropriate challenge to the headteacher and senior leaders”.

After headteacher Stephen Dobson left the school, Dr Julie Roberts and Dr Vicky Lundberg were appointed as executive and associate headteachers respectively to work with the local authority and the Diocesan Education Board to lead on an improvement programme, and the school’s new leadership have vowed to turn the school around.

A joint statement from executive headteacher, Dr Julie Roberts and chair of IEB (the school’s governing body) Malcolm Robertson said: “The Ofsted report on the Harris School is obviously a matter of concern. However the action already taken by the Local Authority and Diocesan Board of Education to second an executive and associate headteacher and appoint an Interim Executive Board to work with staff, students and parents, places the school in a strong position to move forward.

“Action is already being taken to address the issues identified in the report and we are confident that we are seeing progress already. We have made a commitment to parents to keep them informed and to hear any concerns they may have.”

They added: “We have had one very well attended and positive meeting, and plan to have a further meeting this term. We will also place further information on our website. We have also commissioned an external review of progress and the draft report stated that all of the staff spoken to during the review were very positive about the changes made and expressed confidence that the right things were being done and that they were beginning to make a difference.

“They also spoke of a clear vision of working together to improve student achievement through improving teaching. We are confident that the school will move to be outstanding in a short space of time. The greater autonomy the school will have as an academy will enhance this and enable sustained improvement.”

The school will now face a series of regular inspections until Ofsted is satisfied that the school has made sufficient improvement to come out of special measures.