High school ‘inadequate’ says Ofsted

Chris Snell, head teacher.
Chris Snell, head teacher.

Education watchdogs have told a Lancaster secondary school to get its act together after a damning report.

Inspectors said Skerton Community High School was an “inadequate” school with “serious weaknesses”.

The Ofsted report said teaching was below standard at the Owen Road school and results in English and Maths needed improvement.

But senior teachers at Skerton said they were determined to turn the school’s fortunes around.

Inspectors visited the school on April 25 and 26 and found:

*The quality of marking and feedback varied and students were often not given clear advice on how to improve;

*Students were overdependent on the teacher in too many lessons;

*Targets set for students had been, until recently, not challenging enough;

*Attendance was below the national average.

The report did praise an improvement in pupil behaviour and called the school “caring” and “safe”, with good teaching in science and humanities.

Skerton High has just under 200 pupils, 26 teachers and 19 teaching assistants.

Ofsted put the school into ‘special measures’ in 2003 because of failing standards. After improvement, it was removed from them in 2006.

Ofsted’s last inspection of Skerton High in 2011 rated the school as ‘satisfactory’.

Lyndon Day, deputy head, said staff were “disappointed” but were “rolling up their sleeves and are determined to make the necessary progress”.

“There is no positive outcome from feeling sorry for ourselves – Skerton pupils deserve the best and we will deliver,” said Mr Day.

“Skerton Community High School is a far better school than it was even when it came out of special measures.”

Chris Snell, head teacher, said: “We know that Skerton High has had a poor reputation in the past, which is difficult for the school to shake off.

“On the positive side, most people know that we have a growing reputation for working well with more vulnerable pupils and that we have significant success with pupils who have failed at other schools in the district.”

Inspectors will visit the school regularly over the next 18 months to ensure progress is being made.