Tameside school remains in special measures despite improvements

A SECONDARY school has been told it must remain in special measures even though improvements have been made.

Denton Community College was given the lowest rating by Ofsted inspectors after they visited in December.

Now a follow-up monitoring visit has found things are getting better under interim head Donald Cumming after senior leaders accepted ‘endemic weaknesses.’

But for the time being, it remains in that bracket, meaning it cannot appoint early career teachers before the next inspection.

In a report based on the July 12 and 13 visit, Ofsted’s Emma Gregory said: “Denton Community College remains inadequate and requires special measures.

Denton Community College | Photo by Gemma Carter

“Leaders have made progress to improve the school, but more work is necessary for the category of concern to be removed.”

The latest visit did find improvements in terms of the education being given at Denton Community College, on Turner Lane.

But concerns over pupils’ behaviour and absences remain as the report added: “Since taking up your post, transforming the culture of the school has been your priority.

“You have introduced mechanisms for pupils to report bullying and the use of inappropriate language by their peers.

“Increasingly, pupils feel that they have a voice and that they will be listened to by staff. However, while some pupils are already sensing a shift in culture, you are realistic about the time that it will take to rebuild the trust between staff and pupils.

“Your work to improve standards of pupils’ behaviour, while in its early stages, is having a positive effect. For example, the proportion of pupils who come to school and choose not to attend some of their lessons has reduced.

“Pupils and staff said that behaviour has started to improve in classrooms. Consequently, in some lessons, pupils learn in a calmer environment than in the past

“However, while incidents of misbehaviour are reducing, the use of discriminatory language by some pupils continues to be a problem.

“The proportion of pupils who are frequently absent from school remains high.”

Mr Cumming detailed steps he has taken to strengthen leadership at Denton Community College, including bringing in three senior leaders on a temporary basis.

And the Ofsted report pointed towards an improvement in grading if measures are in place for longer.

It states: “Pupils, including those attending alternative provision and those with SEND, now learn a suitably broad and ambitious curriculum.

“Furthermore, in key stage three, you have ensured that pupils can learn more deeply in subjects, such as languages, history and geography.

“However, much of this work is relatively recent and there is limited evidence currently of the impact on pupils’ learning.

“As a result, pupils, including those with SEND, continue to have a variable experience of the curriculum across year groups and subjects.”

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