Head teacher says school is improving after Ofsted

NEEDS IMPROVEMENT: Castle Hall Academy in Richard Thorpe Avenue in Mirfield. (D541D318)
NEEDS IMPROVEMENT: Castle Hall Academy in Richard Thorpe Avenue in Mirfield. (D541D318)
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A headteacher has stressed that progress is being made at his school, which Ofsted has said needs to improve.

Castle Hall Academy has been rated as a school that ‘requires improvement’ by inspectors.

The ‘requires improvement’ category is the third of four that Ofsted use and has replaced the ‘satisfactory’ category under tough new guidelines.

When it was last inspected two years ago, Castle Hall was rated as ‘satisfactory’.

This week head teacher Andy Pugh insisted that improvements had been made since then, and said that changes to Ofsted’s inspection criteria had made it tougher to get to into a higher category.

He said: “The governors and staff were disappointed we didn’t get a higher grade.

“The Ofsted inspectors have raised the bar. Now it’s for us to see in which ways we can be more consistent.

“We have got a plan that we need to get checked, but we are already working at it.”

When Ofsted inspected the Richard Thorpe Avenue school in March, they highlighted a number of areas where improvements can be made.

The report, which was published last week, said there were good results in some subjects, but others were poor, particularly in science.

It said teachers could do more to match work to students abilities, provide more detailed guidance and do a better job of managing behaviour.

It added that there was outstanding teaching in some areas and that changes introduced by a new senior management team were producing improvements.

Mr Pugh said: “It’s a snapshot of us when we are on a journey. Many schools will have three, four or five year cycles of inspections – we have had a two year cycle and I would like to say that in another year we will have improved even more.

“It’s quite a rigid system. You have to fit into one of four categories and I would like to say we are going up from the category we are in now.”

In 2010, Castle Hall School was saved from closure after Kriklees Council scrapped plans to transfer its pupils to the Mirfield Free Grammar.

Since then, Castle Hall has become an academy and has been able to bring in extra capital to make major improvements to its buildings.

“If the place starts to look and feel like has been given a new lease of life, that gives everyone a boost,” Mr Pugh said.