Holgate's great transformation

HUCKNALL'S Holgate Comprehensive School has been given an overall verdict of 'good' by government inspectors – just over two years after it was taken out of Special Measures.

'This is exceptional progress," enthuses head teacher Phil Crompton, commenting on the report from OFSTED (the Office for Standards in Education..

'Good' is the second-highest grade given by inspectors.

Mr Crompton adds "The school has seen a remarkable turnaround of fortunes. In November 2004, it was placed in Special Measures, with teaching, behaviour and leadership all heavily crticisied.

In February 2005, Rob Kenney resigned as head teacher and was replaced by Mr Crompton, then head of Bramcote Park Business and Enterprise School – initially on a one-year secondment.

The post was made permanent in January 2006 and two months later, OFSTED inspectors took the school out of Special Measures, declaring it to be 'satisfactory'.

Since then, says Mr Crompton, the school has improved at an extraordinary rate. Standard Assessment Test (SAT) scores have improved every year, GCSEs are at record levels and in 2007 the school was awarded specialist status in the arts.

In a report of their visit on Wednesday and Thursday July 2 and 3, the OFSTED inspectors say Holgate has been through a time of "considerable change" but over the last four years, much has been achieved by strong leadership and dedicated staff.

"Pupils and parents appreciate the renewed confidence and excitement that now pervade the school," they add.

"The considerable efforts made by the school to improve the quality of teaching and learning are proving very effective. Consequently, teaching is good overall, with some outstanding features.

"However the improved progress has yet to work through into results at the end of key stages three and four. The school is right to now build on this success and further increase achievement in the sixth form.

"Pupils feel safe and enjoy being in the school as a result of good care, guidance and support. There has been good progress since the last inspection in March 2006 and the school has demonstrated an outstanding capacity to improve.

"The school's work in partnership with others to promote learners' well-being is also outstanding."

The inspectors say the school is "excellently led" by Mr Crompton, who is ably supported by a strong team of senior and middle leaders.

The inspectors have now advised Holgate to focus on improving progress made by the sixth form, to encourage pupils to work more independently, and to try engaging more parents by continuing to increase the number of arts events.