Family & Education

King David High Manchester makes progress - but remains in special measures

Chairman of governors 'disappointed' by some comments after latest Ofsted visit


King David High School in Manchester has been making progress but needs to go further to be taken out of special measures, according to Ofsted.

In a second follow-up visit since its downgrade to “inadequate” last March, the inspection service told King David’s executive headteacher John Dalziel that he had “galvanised’ the new leadership team and they had acted “with a greater sense of urgency” to address weaknesses.

Inspector Tim Hill reported, “Leaders have made progress to improve the school, but more work is necessary for the category of concern to be removed.”

A revised improvement plan was “fit for purpose”, he said.

He found that staff were “more vigilant and pick up concerns earlier, including those related to pupils’ mental health” and safeguarding arrangements were effective.

A revised curriculum meant that pupils could study creative subjects “to the same depth as their peers”.

Timetabling adjustments had been made to ensure that all pupils, including those from the Yavneh Boys and Yavneh Girls sections, “can mix socially with each other”.

The school had previously been accused of breaching equality rules because girls from the more religious Yavneh stream were unable to mix with pupils from the rest of the school outside lessons.

However, pupils could not always “opt to do their preferred activity. Leaders are working on how this issue can be resolved. Several pupils spoke favourably about the new timetabling arrangements and said that they now have more opportunity to see their friends at lunchtime from the Yavneh Girls section.”

Leaders had begun to overhaul the careers programme.

They had also taken “some swift action” to try to stem the decline in pupils’ “poor behaviour” - but the approach to issuing sanctions was not clear and was leading to inconsistencies.

“It also remains the case that there are relatively high numbers of internal exclusions involving the same pupils,” Mr Hill reported. “This indicates that the sanctions that these pupils receive are not making a difference to the behaviour of some pupils.”

Improvements in governance had been “slow to materialise” and too many governors had not received basic training, he said.

Jonathan Dover, who succeeded the long-serving Joshua Rowe as chair of governors, last year, said, “We are generally pleased that Ofsted found almost everything to be in good order and progress having been made but are somewhat disappointed by some of the comments on governance. We did point out some inaccuracies, but these have not all been picked up.”

He found the judgment of inadequate and reference to special measures “somewhat surprising when considering our well-ordered school, where the pupils are polite and well behaved, where teachers are all subject specialists and the academic results place it among the top non-selective schools. But we continue to strive to improve in all areas.”nderwent a full inspection, Ofsted said

Good schools are checked around every four years or so to ensure they maintain standards without receiving a formal grade from inspectors. “However, if we find evidence that a school would now receive a higher or lower grade, then the next inspection will be a graded inspection,” Ofsted explained.

Ofsted, which paid a brief visit to the school, said “the evidence gathered suggests that the inspection grade might not be as high if a graded inspection were carried out now”.

The Jewish ethos of the school, which has a diverse mix of pupils, helped “pupils to understand the importance of fundamental British values such as tolerance and respect,” Ofsted said.

It found pupils “enthusiastic” about learning and “ambitious” leaders had prioritised curiculum development.

But Ofsted reported that not all staff had the expertise to teach early reading effectively and leaders did not track behaviour or incidents of bullying in a systematic way - although most pupils felt that when bullying occurred, staff dealt with it.

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