Positive progress puts Aylesbury school back on track

Pebble Brook headteacher David Miller with pupils
Pebble Brook headteacher David Miller with pupils
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The headteacher of an Aylesbury school in special measures says he is delighted with progress being made.

Ofsted inspectors say Pebble Brook School is making ‘reasonable progress’ towards the status’ removal, the best update that can be given at this stage.

The school was put in special measures last year, but headteacher David Miller says all the main concerns have been addressed and hopes to have the status removed in the next year.

He said: “Our progress is as strong as can be expected.

“The pupils and the families of our school deserve this because of the work that they’re doing.

“Pupils are making good to outstanding progress, particularly in the core subjects.

“We recognise that we have built the foundations and we still have a long way to go to get the school to be as good as we think it can be.”

Areas identified for improvement during the May 2012 inspection included improving the rate of students’ progress and the quality of teaching.

Following the second monitoring inspection since special measures were imposed, Ofsted said many pupils are making faster progress than previously.

On teaching, the report said: “The proportion of lessons seen where teaching was at least good has increased.

“The school now has a very clear and accurate picture of the quality of teaching throughout the school.”

The school is putting more emphasis on ‘inspiring the community’, which involves contributing to the neighbourhood, such as by tidying up gardens and raising money for charity, as well as introducing new qualifications such as painting and decorating.

There are also plans to open a new outdoor classroom by the end of the summer.

Mr Miller said: “We want pupils to have pride in their school.

“The pupils are the first people who make decisions about what the school looks like.”

Ofsted also highlighted the fact many pupils are becoming more involved in practical activities and moving away from the ‘worksheet’ culture of the past, helping them to ground work in real-life situations.

The school recently opened a new £1.5 million classroom block designed to improve pupils’ experience.

Despite all this, no one is resting on their laurels and assuming the school’s recovery is complete.

Mr Miller said: “The challenge is to continue to improve in all areas, to continue to raise standards and to support our pupils to become more involved in the school.”