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Teaching 'not good enough' at Wolverhampton's Smestow School

Wolverhampton | Ofsted reports | Published:

A troubled city school has been told the quality of its teaching is "not good enough" in its latest Ofsted inspection.

Smestow School's executive headteacher Kerry Inscker

Smestow School in Wolverhampton was given the third tier rating of 'requires improvement' across the board after inspectors visited its Windmill Crescent site in May, matching the rating it received in its previous inspection in 2016.

In the report concerns were raised over teaching standards and disruptive students, although inspectors also noted a series of improvements following a period of high staff turnover.

The 901-student school, which is run by the University of Wolverhampton Multi Academy Trust, was told it needs to improve in the areas of leadership and management, teaching and learning, development and behaviour, and outcomes.

In her report, lead inspector Deborah James said leaders had struggled to manage a large staff turnover in the last three years and had been "unable to make suitable high-quality appointments" until recently.

This meant that pupils lacked specialist input and were "poorly prepared" for exams, although the situation has "improved considerably" over the last academic year.

"The quality of teaching overall is not good enough," the report added. "Not all teachers have high enough expectations of their pupils. They allow pupils to work slowly on undemanding activities.

"Pupils make less progress than they should."

Behaviour improving

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The report said "some pupils disturb the learning of others" due to teachers failing to apply the school’s behaviour policy consistently, while pupils did not make enough progress in subjects including English and maths over the last two years.

However, behaviour was said to have improved considerably over the last term, leading to "considerably fewer exclusions".

Improvements were evident in the progress of current pupils, according to inspectors, including disadvantaged pupils.

Executive headteacher Kerry Inscker was said to have made a "substantially positive impact" since arriving at the school last October, having put together a leadership team including new headteacher James Till, who is replacing the departing Angie Lawrence.

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The school was also praised for its "effective" approach to safeguarding.

Chair of governors Georgina Lahiri said the school was "disappointed" not to have received a 'good' rating, but said the report was an "honest reflection" of the challenges Smestow had faced and the "significant improvements" made over the last year.

She said a past reliance on supply staff had been "of particular difficulty", but said that for the first time in years the school would be "fully staffed" in September.

Mrs Lahiri pledged to continue improvements cited by inspectors regarding behaviour and progress, and said that under the new headteacher: "I am confident that we will rapidly become the school that all of our students and parents are proud of."

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