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Wednesday, 01 May 2013 00:00

Chaucer Technology College: OFSTED Special Measures - an avoidable accident waiting to happen.

It is no surprise that Chaucer Technology College has been placed in Special Measures by OFSTED. Parents recognised some years ago that there were serious problems, and this once heavily oversubscribed, successful and popular school has seen applications slump over the past two years with only 90 of its current 235 Year 7 places filled. For next September, the school made the decision to reduce the number of empty spaces by the simple device of reducing the capacity to 150. However, at just 81 even fewer offers have been made for next September, including 8 allocated by the Local Authority; a figure that will surely shrink further as children bale out into places at more popular schools. Iworte about this in a previous article here

GCSE performance, compared to other Kent schools has been declining annually for years, and for the past two years has been in the bottom 10% in the county. 

School governors took belated action in January when the headteacher left the school with immediate effect, but the appointment of a new Acting Principal was insufficient to turn the school round in just over a month before the Inspection.

The sorry state of the school at this time can be seen from some of the comments in the Inspection Report:.........

 

 Teaching is inadequate because it is not demanding enough to ensure that students achieve well. Work is not well planned or appropriately matched to students’ level of ability, and is frequently too easy* Students’ attainment in English, mathematics, science, modern foreign languages, history and geography is well below average * All groups of students are substantially underperforming * There are weaknesses in the teaching of some subjects, including English, science and modern foreign languages*there has been no trend of improvement to students’ attainment over the last three years  * Behaviour and safety require improvement because at times students disrupt learning where teaching is weak or where a teacher is unfamiliar or inexperienced * A significant number of students are persistently absent *Until the intervention of the acting principal, leaders, managers and governors did not do enough to tackle poor performance*Areas of improvement identified during the previous inspection have still not been fully addressed.

 Nevertheless, there are some good qualities identified in the Report, so it is not as bad as some I have read this year. These include: *Disabled students and those with special educational needs are supported well and make good progress* The teaching observed in the sixth form was mainly good* Students have a good understanding of bullying and think that it is not a threat in their school - There were very few incidents recorded.

Until now, Chaucer has been Kent’s only bi-lateral school, technically catering for both grammar qualified and non-selective students, once popular with both, although I doubt if any grammar qualified students have chosen Chaucer for some years. This will all change now as the school is destined to become a Sponsored Academy, likely to be under the aegis of Oasis Community Learning, a Christian charity, currently running 28 primary and secondary academies across the country. Further details here.

 As always it is regrettable that this action is needed, but this one appears to have been entirely avoidable, given the school’s previous success; and one can only hope that the school’s leaders, governors, and managers accept responsibility for the destruction of this once vibrant school. Final ironic thought - the Principal's latest message on the school website, written after the OFSTED Inspection but before its publication reads: "As Easter approaches, we have much to celebrate". 

Last modified on Sunday, 16 March 2014 17:23

1 comment

  • Comment Link Saturday, 18 May 2013 17:03 posted by maria

    Make that 7 allocated by the authority. We have just refused the place for our daughter.

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