Ofsted inspectors’ report slams ‘failing’ Dewsbury school

St John Fisher Catholic Voluntary Academy
St John Fisher Catholic Voluntary Academy

A struggling Dewsbury secondary school has been placed in special measures in a damning Ofsted report.

Inspectors said St John Fisher Catholic Voluntary Academy on Oxford Road is “failing to give its pupils an acceptable standard of education”.

Rating the school as Inadequate, the inspectors said the school’s leadership is also not showing the capacity to secure the improvement that is needed.

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“Leaders have an overly positive view of the effectiveness of the school,” says the report from the education watchdog. “Consequently, they have not taken swift action to tackle poor teaching and provide an effective education for pupils.”

Pupils’ progress is weak across a range of subjects, including English, Maths and Science, says the report.

“A significant minority of pupls show a lack of respect for adults and each other,” it continues. “Pupils’ presentation and pride in work is very variable and too many pupils have poor attitudes to learning. Staff do not manage behaviour consistently well.

“There is consistently low attendance for disadvantaged pupils that has a negative effect on their progress.”

“In the sixth form, students are not making consistently good progress. However, teaching and outcomes are better than in the rest of the school.”

Inspectors did identify some strengths, including that the proportion of pupils continuing in education or employment with training is above average and that Sixth Form students make good progress in GCSE resits.

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A spokesperson for the school said it had not been given enough time to turn the school around since the last inspection, in November 2017: “We have not been complacent and systems have been put in place and the groundwork completed, but as the report acknowledges, the magnitude of the task to improve the school was recognised and the board’s review of governance to support areas of leadership and management has had insufficient time to be fully embedded but work continues with the support of all staff. The most recent inspection just came several months too early for the positive changes to demonstrate their full impact.”