Family & Education

King Solomon makes progress but improvements still needed, says Ofsted

School leaders say they are taking ‘bold steps’ for positive change


King Solomon High School (LInked-In)

Inspectors have recognised “significant change” at King Solomon High School since it was last visited three years ago but found that it still “requires improvement”.

Pupils have begun to benefit from recent improvements and expectations have increased “as a result of the clear strategic vision” set out by new headteacher Michele Phillips who arrived at the beginning of the academic year.

But several changes in staffing, as well as the use of temporary teachers, have made it “difficult for some pupils to build trust and confidence that staff will be able to resolve any concerns”.

Ofsted noted that the diversity of the Redbridge school — where the majority of children are not Jewish — was “a strength that is celebrated”.

Most pupils are “polite and respectful”, are kept safe in school and “are responding well” to rising expectations.

“A significant amount of work has been undertaken to improve the quality of education,” Ofsted reported. “For example, subject leaders have received helpful training to develop the curriculum.”

However, there remained significant variability” in the implementation of the curriculum partly due to staffing changes and some pupils were not achieving “as well as they should”.

School leaders were aware that take-up of some English Baccalaureate subjects at GCSE remained low and were trying to improve the proportion of children opting for languages.

The diversity of the school community is a strength that is celebrated.

Leaders also recognised that pupils with special educational needs did “not consistently” receive the right support and while plans were in place, staff had not yet had sufficient training to understand specific needs.

Inspectors generally found classrooms “calm and orderly” and pupils “attentive” in lessons but that some incidences of poor behaviour were not dealt quickly enough. Suspensions were used appropriately.

Leaders “recognise that a key priority is to significantly increase the expectations that exist for pupils’ learning and behaviour and that staff apply these consistently,” Ofsted said.

“The views of staff are mixed. Some, including those at the start of their careers, feel well supported by leaders. They appreciate the structure, clarity and vision of leaders and the opportunities they are receiving to develop professionally. However, this is not the case for all staff.”

A spokesman for King Solomon said, “We recognised the changes that needed to be made, and the headteacher, together with governors and the senior leadership team, are taking bold steps towards steering the school towards excellent.

“The Ofsted report acknowledged how much work had been done, and we look forward to working with Ofsted, parents, pupils and teachers as well as our community to continue on this path.”

In a letter to parents, Ms Phillips and the chair of governors Brian Westbury highlighted that many of the improvements “need more time to be fully embedded and to show impact for all students”.

The school was hit by strikes towards the end of last term after the National Education Union objected to some of Ms Phillips’s improvement measures but these were called off half way through when a deal was reached.

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