Falconer School in Bushey 'making progress', says Ofsted

A Bushey school that was put into special measures earlier this year is "making reasonable progress" according to the latest Ofsted report, which praised the improved mathematics and English GCSE results.

Falconer School, for boys aged 11 to 16 who have behavioural, social or emotional difficulties, was put into special measures in February after an inspection rated the school "inadequate".

Last month the school’s inspectorate observed 14 lessons at the school, and said teaching had improved since the inspection in February because some teachers have left and others have improved their skills as a result of high expectations and frequent checks by senior leaders.

Students who spoke with inspectors noticed the difference and said that they have to work all the time now.

The report said: "They know that they have a better chance of gaining more GCSEs, and better grades, because there are more subjects on offer at higher levels and they are taught better than before."

The school was put in special measures in February after the achievement of pupils was deemed inadequate and pupils were not getting the GCSE results they were capable of.

Attendance also did not meet the national required minimum standard for residential special schools.

Since September, leadership of the school has been shared between the headteacher of Bushey Meads School and Jonathan Kemp, an associate headteacher who will take over headship from January 1. Since then, students’ attendance has improved and is, with the exception of a few persistent absentees, increasingly in line with national averages.

A revised curriculum was also implemented meaning that almost all courses now lead to Level 2 qualifications.

The inspection recognised that the period between the February inspection and the end of the summer term was a "tough one" for staff because expectations to change the school’s ethos were high and uncompromising.

It said: "The executive headteacher took a direct, strategic approach to what had to be done and staff made the changes they were asked to make. Staff recognised that things needed to change and the right things were in place for the start of the autumn term.

"The momentum has been maintained this term, staff performance has improved and students’ achievements are beginning to rise."

The conclusion from the inspection was that not all national minimum standards are being met yet and there are six areas for improvement including developing a staff learning and development programme, providing the head of care with regular supervision and providing all staff with a formal annual appraisal of their performance.

Associate headmaster Jonathan Kemp said: "We are very pleased with the recent HMI inspection. "It has affirmed that Falconer School is making the right steps to coming out of special measures.

"We are a forward looking, innovative school, and as such, are continually developing our curriculum to ensure it matches the needs of all our learners, as well as developing lesson planning to ensure we deliver outstanding teaching in the classroom.

"We look forward to HMI re-visiting us in the spring term. That will be just the beginning of our journey to outstanding, and ensuring we provide the level of service our learners both need and deserve."

Comments (4)

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11:19am Fri 13 Dec 13

Nightreader says...

'Special' school? Really? Is this the 1970s?
'Special' school? Really? Is this the 1970s? Nightreader

11:20am Fri 13 Dec 13

Nightreader says...

My comment above refers to your tweeted link to this story
My comment above refers to your tweeted link to this story Nightreader

3:30pm Fri 13 Dec 13

rosierodent says...

Nightreader wrote:
'Special' school? Really? Is this the 1970s?
My friend's son is a pupil at this school and I find this article very misleading. The photograph looks like some kind of old fashioned institution, where naughty children were locked away. Falconer School is most definitely not that. The teachers and members of staff are dedicated to helping the boys and go way beyond their normal duties and give so much of their own time to help not only the students, but also their families.
[quote][p][bold]Nightreader[/bold] wrote: 'Special' school? Really? Is this the 1970s?[/p][/quote]My friend's son is a pupil at this school and I find this article very misleading. The photograph looks like some kind of old fashioned institution, where naughty children were locked away. Falconer School is most definitely not that. The teachers and members of staff are dedicated to helping the boys and go way beyond their normal duties and give so much of their own time to help not only the students, but also their families. rosierodent

9:59pm Mon 16 Dec 13

WO Admin says...

The word, Special, is used by both Ofsted and the school itself and is a standard term used throughout Hertfordshire.
The word, Special, is used by both Ofsted and the school itself and is a standard term used throughout Hertfordshire. WO Admin

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