Improvements needed at town secondary school, inspectors say

Helena Romanes School and Sixth Form Centre. Picture: ARCHANT

Helena Romanes School and Sixth Form Centre. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Improvements are required in the quality of education at Helena Romanes School, government inspectors have said.

Ofsted visited the school in October and, in a full report published last month, said that while the school was rated 'good' in a number of areas, the quality of education needed to be improved.

In the report, Liz Smith, lead inspector of the five-strong Ofsted team, said: "The school currently organises the curriculum with a two-year key stage three and a three-year key stage four.

"The rationale is to provide pupils with more time to practise the skills required for GSCE and so perform better in their exams. This does not work for all pupils. In subjects such as RE, for example, pupils finish key stage three and choose their GCSE options without studying all the required content.

"This denies them their entitlement to important areas of knowledge."

Ms Smith added: "The school should review its curriculum and ensure that it is similar in breadth and ambition to the national curriculum.

"Leaders need to ensure that teachers continue to develop their pedagogy and subject knowledge. This is so teachers can plan well sequenced, challenging tasks and questions. This, in turn, will help pupils to know more and remember more over time."

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The team of inspectors praised much of the work being carried out at the school, rating behaviour, personal development, leadership, and sixth form as 'good'.

The report noted: "In English, mathematics and science, the quality of teaching is improving. Teachers plan and sequence work with greater care than in the past. This is to make sure that pupils know more and remember more.

"Consequently, pupils speak and write more confidently about the topics they have learned. In some areas of the curriculum, the questions and tasks teachers set are too easy. To address this, leaders are providing regular training sessions for teachers."

In a letter to parents, Daniel Gee, the head teacher, said: "We are delighted with the many strengths that are identified in the report and we are in agreement with those areas that have been identified as next steps.

"Where the report has identified areas for improvement, it also acknowledges that we are already taking appropriate steps that are having a positive impact. One of the key areas of focus moving forward will be our approach to the curriculum."

"This is an area that our governors had identified, and discussed with me, following my appointment as head teacher. A review of the curriculum began earlier this academic year and I will keep you updated as a part of this process."