Morecambe High school gets damning Ofsted report

Morecambe High School.
Morecambe High School.

Morecambe High School has been issued with orders to improve in all areas in a damning new Ofsted report.

The school has been labelled as ‘requiring improvement’ throughout – a dramatic drop from its previous report of ‘Good’ in 2012.

Matt Auger, head teacher at Morecambe Community High School.

Matt Auger, head teacher at Morecambe Community High School.

The Ofsted report, which follows an inspection last month, said that:

* The quality of day-to-day teaching varies too much. As a result, some pupils including those who are disadvantaged, have special educational needs or disability do not make good progress.

* The achievement and attendance of disadvantaged pupils remains below that of their peers.

* Governors have not held senior leaders to account as stringently as they should. As a result, standards in some subjects are not keeping pace with national standards.

* While the majority of pupils behave extremely well, a small group persistently interrupts the learning of others. The behaviour of this group is not consistently well managed.

* Bullying – including racist remarks – is not always dealt with effectively.

In order to improve, the inspection report suggests the school – which caters for 1,447 pupils aged 11 to 18 – carries out various measures, such as improving levels of teaching, increasing the accountability of leaders, and assessing how leadership and management may be improved.

“The quality of teaching and learning has declined since the previous inspection,” the report said.

“This is due to weaknesses in leadership and management.

“The headteacher has begun to reverse this decline by giving teachers much better access to information about pupils’ abilities so that they can use this in their planning.

“There are many new initiatives to improve the quality of teaching but there are a small number of teachers who still need help with providing effective lessons.”

The report said a “robust system for performance management” is in place. Some staff were denied pay progression last year because standards were not good enough.

New head Matt Auger has given staff “clear lines of responsibility” and told them how their performance will be measured.

The report highlighted the good work of Mr Auger, who replaced longstanding head John McNaughton, who retired last year.

It said: “The new headteacher is strong and decisive. He knows precisely what needs to be done to raise standards.

“He is aspirational, has high expectations and is honest and open in his approach. He is popular with staff, parents and pupils due to his tenacity and clear direction.

“He has set a clear vision for the school’s improvement and has an accurate understanding of current standards.

“He has also brought in a vast amount of expertise from other schools to develop the skills and knowledge of senior leaders; this is already starting to have an impact on raising achievement.”

Mr Auger said: “It has been a privilege to begin working at Morecambe Community High School since September 2015.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working to serve such a wonderful student body and community.

“The Ofsted team concurred with my own self evaluation of the school and both myself and the staff are fully committed to addressing the issues that have been highlighted in the report.

“We are currently working with some of the most successful schools in the country to improve key areas and will continue to develop only the best practice for our students.

“We will be launching our new Behaviour Policy at the start of June, we have already increased the number of occasions we collect information on student achievement, increased student targets and have began a much more systematic and targeted approach to academic intervention.

“We have reviewed the curriculum for September 2016 ensuring that it prepares students for life in modern Britain, re-launched our student council to ensure that they they are fully engaged in the running of the school and recently finished a lengthy consultation on our vision and values which we will soon be sharing with parents and students.

“We have high aspirations for, and high expectations of our students, only the best provision will do and I am committed to ensuring that all we do is the best that it can be.

“I am delighted to report that the Term 1 absence figures reported to the Department for Education (DFE) were the lowest that the school has achieved in more than a decade.

“There is a great deal that Morecambe Community High School has to offer for students and we will continue to play an active part in our community.

“Our unique offer of the outdoor education entitlement, our school productions, extra-curricular sports, music and dance are all areas that were recognise as significant strengths.

“I am very much looking forward to my time as Headteacher at Morecambe Community High School and have absolute faith that we can build on all that we have started since September 2015.”