Improving school off the OFSTED blacklist

Children and their head teacher at Annie Holgate Jnr school celebrate coming out of special measures
Children and their head teacher at Annie Holgate Jnr school celebrate coming out of special measures

A SCHOOL in Hucknall, which was blacklisted for failing its pupils, has been given a new lease of life — after inspectors declared that it was back on track.

The long-established Annie Holgate Junior School, on High Leys Road, was hit by the hammer blow of a scathing report from the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) early last year.

It was slammed as failing to provide an “acceptable standard of education” and was thrown into Special Measures.

The label meant the school had to show major improvement during a series of regular visits, or face further punishment. Ultimately, a failing school can be shut down.

But in a fast-paced turnaround, the school has seen the black cloud of Special Measures lifted and is now rated as ‘satisfactory’.

Delighted head teacher Rose Jones said: “Inspectors have judged that the school has improved so much that it does not need to be in Special Measures any more.

“This is a tremendous achievement for the school after only three OFSTED monitoring visits. Schools are allowed up to six visits to get out of Special Measures.”

She added that the revival had been completed during a time in which OFSTED has toughened up its inspection framework.

“This achievement is down to the hard work, dedication and effort of staff, children, governors and parents,” said Mrs Jones.

“I would like to thank everyone who has helped achieve this.”

But she conceded that this was only the “start of the journey” and she was hopeful the school could maintain the improvement, with teaching standards continuing to rise.

There are currently 173 children aged between seven and 11 at Annie Holgate.

The latest OFSTED visit was arranged at just two days’ notice. Inspectors sat in on a series of lessons and interviewed staff, parents, governors and children.

When Special Measures was announced, there was heavy criticism of the school’s management, with Mrs Jones described as having a clear idea of what was needed at the school but having “too much to do”.

But the latest appraisal says the governing body and senior leaders had been “relentless in driving up the quality of teaching”. They had managed to win the confidence of the community.

Many of the features of the school are classed as being ‘good’ but it only gets a ‘satisfactory’ rating because of the length of time in which it has shown improvement.

A highlight of the inspection was a thumbs-up for the behaviour of pupils, and measures in place to keep them safe.

Youngsters were now progressing well. Attendance was above average and all teaching during follow-up inspection visits was rated ‘good or better’.

Improvement was still needed in communication with parents and carers and promoting pupils’ moral, social and cultural development.

In a letter to pupils, inspector David Anstead said: “We were particularly impressed with how polite and well-behaved you are.”

He added: “The head teacher and senior staff want the best for you and are driving the improvements.”

Mrs Jones concluded: “I am proud of our school because there is a lot to be proud of now.

“Everyone has helped to make this a place with high expectations and where learning is meaningful and enjoyable.”