St Sampson's High Graded As 'Inadequate' By Ofsted

St Sampson's High School has been rated as 'inadequate' by the schools inspector, Ofsted.

An inspection has highlighted concerns with the quality of education, behaviour and attitudes and leadership and management.

Ofsted judged the education offered at St Sampson's as being 'not good enough', with poor pupil behaviour often left unchecked.

The inspectors said St Sampson's High doesn't have an effective strategy for managing student behaviour - meaning bullying isn't dealt with quickly.

It also criticised the senior leadership team at St Sampson's High 'have not ensured staff share a common understanding of the curriculum', and students with disabilities or special educational needs are failing 'to reach their potential' because of teachers' low expectations of them.

Ofsted has criticised the school's safeguarding measures - saying although the staff recently set up a system for identifying and helping students at risk of harm, 'many pupils don't feel safe' because of a perceived failure to tackle bullying when it is reported.

"The quality of education at St Sampson’s High School is not good enough. Senior leaders have not ensured that the curriculum is implemented well. Some pupils progress through the curriculum well and enjoy school. However, far too many pupils do not gain the knowledge they need because staff do not have high enough expectations of what they can achieve.

Pupils’ behaviour around the school is poor. While most pupils show respect to their teachers, some do not. Some pupils ignore or directly challenge their teachers. Poor behaviour sometimes goes unchecked because staff do not apply the behaviour policy consistently.

When bullying happens, pupils report it to their teachers, but they have little confidence that staff will be able to put a stop to it. As a result, many pupils do not feel safe in school."
-Ofsted report extract

The school's leaders, and the Education, Sport & Culture Committee, said the findings are 'unacceptable' and that they are committed to supporting the principal to urgently address the areas of concern.

It says an extra leadership role will be added to the two Deputy Head and Assistant Headteacher roles recently appointed, as well as a post specifically to monitor and address student behaviour.

St Sampson's High Principal, Vicky Godley, promised improvements will be made:

"The report clearly shows that the school is not delivering at the level we all expect. I am truly sorry for that. But I am absolutely committed to doing everything necessary to address the range of concerns identified by Ofsted. I want to assure our students and their parents and carers that we know there is much work to do, we know and recognise the issues and we will work tirelessly to address them.

From a personal perspective, I have been in a similar situation before when I joined La Mare High. The staff there pulled together, we developed a new culture and the whole community saw the benefits. I have no doubt the same can and will happen at St Sampson’s. It takes time but we know we need to generate improvements urgently."

ESC President, Deputy Andrew Dudley-Owen, says she apologies unreservedly to the students and families who have been let down as a result of a drop in standards:

"The result of this external inspection is very disappointing to everyone involved in the delivery of education, but the need to objectively understand the strengths and weaknesses of all our schools is precisely why our committee pressed ahead with what we knew was an urgent need for all of our schools to be independently and externally inspected.

President of Education, Sport & Culture, Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen

The St Sampson’s High School community will I’m sure be concerned about the findings – as are we, but I want to take this opportunity to reassure that the report acknowledges that Mrs Godley has a clear understanding of what needs to change. Mrs Godley was very deliberately brought in to lead the school two years ago following the excellent job she did at La Mare de Carteret High School, with the goal of achieving similar improvements and cultural change at St Sampson’s High."

She confirmed the committee still has 'full support' in Mrs Godley's leadership of the school - saying things will improve over time:

"Cultural change for the better does not happen overnight, nor does a deterioration in standards. Ultimate accountability for the quality of our schools rests with the Committee, which is a constant despite changes in its membership over time. As the President of the Committee, I apologise unreservedly to the students and families who have been let down as a result of a drop in standards and I commit to ensuring there is an immediate and marked improvement.

Mrs Godley continues to have the Committee’s full support as we know that she is the right leader to deliver the improvements needed, and it is to her credit that the Report recognises this. The changes that are needed are already well underway and will be accelerated when Mrs Godley is supported by three new senior leaders who join the school in September, appointments that will help Mrs Godley’s efforts to deliver continual improvement."

Deputy Dudley-Owen said the committee will be taking on a 'more active' role as governors 'to ensure there is appropriate challenge and support in place' for the school's leaders.

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