Ofsted laurels for Birchwood High School
Students and staff at Bishop's Stortford's Birchwood High School have won praise from education watchdog Ofsted.
Inspector John Randall visited the Parsonage Lane academy to review progress following two successive judgements that improvement was required. His conclusion was full of praise for the efforts made to restore stability.
In 2017, the inspection team reported “staffing turbulence and difficulties in recruiting teachers”. But last month, Mr Randall found 19 new teachers had been recruited, four of whom are newly qualified, and a full-time deputy principal was now in post.
He noted: “In 2017, pupils’ progress increased and significant improvements were seen across a number of areas, including science. In mathematics and science, pupils made above-average progress.
“Your information on current pupils shows that you have built on the improvements, and pupils across groups, including disadvantaged pupils, now make better progress.
“You track pupils’ progress closely, and the accuracy of last year’s forecasts for pupils working at the expected levels gives you and your governors confidence in your predictions for current pupils.”
Mr Randall highlighted the need to continue to “remove the barriers that prevent disadvantaged pupils from making good progress”.
However, he acknowledged: “Senior leaders and governors are taking effective action to tackle the areas requiring improvement identified at the last section 5 inspection in order for the school to become good.”
Dr Chris Ingate, Birchwood’s principal, said: “As far as Her Majesty’s Inspector reports are concerned, this is pretty much as good as it gets. As principal, I am extremely proud of our 1,400 students and our committed staff.
“Following our record GCSE and A level results last year, we want to build on these and this Ofsted report. We are determined to not rest on our laurels.”