Ofsted: Failing schools on road to recovery

Judith Ejdowski - headteacher of Haydon Abbey School in Aylesbury
Judith Ejdowski - headteacher of Haydon Abbey School in Aylesbury

Three failing schools in the Vale have been praised for making good progress towards improving standards.

Three failing schools have been praised for making good progress towards improving standards.

Primary schools Haydon Abbey and Grendon Underwood and secondary The Cottesloe all received ‘requires improvement’ ratings from Ofsted in winter 2012.

But following monitoring’ inspections by the agency’s Joanna Beckford-Hall during late January all three are said to be on the road to recovery.

Haydon Abbey in Weedon Road, Aylesbury, was criticised in November for the poor standard of pupils’ work, brighter children’s lack of progress and occasions when behaviour was not good enough.

Following her visit in January, Ms Beckford-Hall said: “The headteacher and deputy headteacher are responding with appropriate urgency to the priorities from the recent inspection.

“Leaders are providing a clear message to staff: teaching must improve quickly to remedy the legacy of underachievement and accelerate pupils’ progress. Staff are working hard to address weaknesses in pupils’ behaviour and attitudes to learning.”

Haydon headteacher Mrs Judith Ejdowski told The Bucks Herald: “I think they were very pleased with how much work we have done.

“We have picked up on all the comments that the inspectors made and are making sure all their recommendations are put in place.

“Staff have been very supportive. We are all very keen to make sure the children have a really good education here.”

She said the school was aiming for a ‘good’ rating when next inspected.

The Cottesloe in Wing was told in October that the quality of its teaching was not always good enough, lessons were sometimes too easy and boys’ achievement in maths was sub-standard.

But Ms Beckford-Hall was full of praise for new headteacher Andy McBurnie. She said he had ‘great passion’ and ‘a vision for rapidly driving improvement, with much higher expectations for students’ progress and staff performance’.

She added: “A new, energetic pace of change is emerging.”

Inspectors said Grendon Underwood Combined School particularly fell down in maths lessons, with teachers’ subject knowledge ‘not always as good as it could be’. Ms Beckford-Hall said the headteacher and her assistant headteacher are now ‘taking insightful decisions about how to address the areas for improvement identified’ and ‘developing better teaching of numeracy throughout the school is showing signs of improvement in pupils’ numeracy work’.