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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 November 2005, 09:57 GMT
Ridings School 'inadequate' again
The Ridings School
Government inspectors said the school was 'well placed' to improve
A school once labelled the worst in Britain by the media has been judged inadequate by government inspectors.

The Ridings School in Halifax has been given notice to improve after Ofsted inspectors said it was "performing less well than could be expected".

The report said pupils were disruptive and capable of achieving more, and that teaching quality was "variable".

But it praised the new head teacher and leadership team, saying they had made good plans to raise standards.

Low expectations

The Ofsted inspection report says improvement is required in the areas of standards and provision in the sixth form, achievement and progress of pupils, attendance and behaviour and in the quality of provision of teaching and of the curriculum.

Its overall effectiveness was judged inadequate, one category higher than the lowest of failing.

"Although some teaching is good, too many lessons are not satisfactory because teachers do not have high enough expectations of what their pupils can achieve", the report says.

It says attendance "is very low and the strategies employed by the school to secure improvement have met with limited success".

And the behaviour of some pupils "disrupts the best efforts of teachers to improve learning", it continues.

However, the report says that under the new head Stuart Todd - who joined the school in the summer - and a new senior leadership team, the school is well placed to move forward.

The school was inspected a few weeks into the new term.

The new team has identified the school's strengths and weaknesses and has already made good plans, including tackling indiscipline and adapting the curriculum, the report says.

'Come a long way'

The Ridings gained notoriety in 1996 when staff walked out, saying 60 pupils were "unteachable".

The school was temporarily closed and a new head teacher and leadership team took over.

It then celebrated a leap in GCSE results in 2003 after the proportion of students gaining at least five good GCSEs or the equivalent rose from 7% to 25%. Its then head teacher Anna White said this marked a "long-awaited turning point".

The school declined to comment on Ofsted's findings. However, a spokesperson for Calderdale local education authority said standards would continue to rise at the school.

Cabinet member for Schools and Children's Services, cllr Ann McAllister, said she was confident the building blocks were in place to help the school improve.

"The Ridings School has come a long way already and continues to make progress," she said.

She said the notice to improve should be seen in the context of the new inspections criteria.

"What is quickly becoming clear is that there are rising expectations of schools across the country.

From the start of this school year schools were given an opportunity to provide Ofsted inspectors with their assessment of the school and were given less notice of inspections.

'Worst school's' GCSE joy
21 Aug 03 |  West Yorkshire
New inspections 'will be tougher'
01 Sep 05 |  Education

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