Fears for pupils’ GCSE progression

Ridgewood School
Ridgewood School

A GOVERNMENT watchdog has raised concerns that pupils are failing to make the expected progress in three core subjects at a newly-transformed academy.

Ridgewood School received an overall grade three or ‘satisfactory’ mark following its first Ofsted inspection as an academy.

Lead inspector Katrina Gueli highlighted strong concerns about the percentage of pupils making the progress in GCSE English, maths and science being lower than the national average over the last three years - but that those figures were improving.

Ridgewood - which became an academy in November 2011 - hit back in a statement to the Free Press saying that the new way in which Ofsted carries out inspections “radically changes the basis of overall judgements”.

The watchdog’s report said the proportion of good or better teaching at Ridgewood was too low to help the progression of its 1,348 pupils overall.

Pupils leaving the Barnsley Road site at lunchtime without permission of parents or carers was another concern as was the proportion of pupils gaining the highest grades at GCSE and equivalent qualifications being “too low in many subjects”.

Despite satisfactory grades in categories such as achievement of pupils, quality of teaching and leadership and management, the academy did score a two or ‘good’ mark in its behaviour and safety of pupils.

Mrs Gueli said the academy achieved well in its specialist subject areas, had above average attendance and the newly-transformed sixth form centre provided more educational choices for pupils aged 11 to 19.

The report suggested the Scawsby-based academy improve pupils’ progress in the core subjects and that it was monitored more closely.

The academy released a statement to the Free Press, saying it was pleased with the continued progress in specialist areas, its attendance levels and the sixth form centre.

It said: “The agenda set out is clear, and is being shared by an increasing number of schools in our circumstances as they are inspected under the new regime.

“Like them it is incumbent on us to demonstrate that the necessary responses are in place and will bear fruit whenever and however the new regime chooses to monitor the situation with future visits.

“As ever, the attitude, behaviour and commitment of pupils was correctly noted as positive, as was the determination of the school to continue on what has been a very positive path over the last decade.”