Ofsted inspectors give pioneering school in Dudley the thumbs up

A new secondary school set up to give troubled youngsters a fighting chance has been rated 'good' by Ofsted inspectors.

Dudley's Priory Park Community School head Stuart Playford, Councillor Kieran Casey and MP Marco Longhi, celebrate with staff and pupils
Dudley's Priory Park Community School head Stuart Playford, Councillor Kieran Casey and MP Marco Longhi, celebrate with staff and pupils

Delighted staff and pupils at Priory Park Community School, in Meadow Road, Wren's Nest estate in Dudley opened 12 months ago offering an alternative education mixing traditional lessons with sports and vocational courses.

The school has now been given a good rating for overall effectiveness in the key areas of quality, behaviour, personal development, management and also met independent school standards when the inspectors called in November last term.

However, the report stated there was room for improvement and stated: "In some subjects, leaders do not identify gaps in pupils’ prior learning quickly enough. This means that teachers do not always build on what pupils already know, and this can hinder the progress that these pupils make.

"Leaders should ensure that assessment systems allow teachers to check what pupils remember so they can address gaps in learning before new learning is introduced. Leaders have begun to think about ways to support struggling readers to learn phonics. However, this is in the early stages of being implemented."

The school, a registered Community Interest Company, was the brainchild of Priory Park Boxing Club chairman Paul Gough who joined forces with Mr Playford to launch it to provide alternative services for pupils may be subject to educational health and social care plans or at risk of exclusion from mainstream schools.

School owner and head Stuart Playford stated: "We are exceptionally proud of this outcome and what we have achieved as a school in such a short time. We have received so much support since we opened and have received a warm welcome by the local community and Dudley borough.

"I personally would like to thank all the staff, parents and especially the pupils for their support and contribution towards the success of the school.

Castle and Priory ward councillor Keiran Casey said: “A massive well done to all the team at Priory Park Community School.

"What you are doing is making a massive difference locally, in such a short space of time. Congratulations on your recent Ofsted inspection and rating. All your work has paid off.”

Marco Longhi MP said: “I am thrilled that the school has received a good report from Ofsted, and its great to be here today celebrating this achievement exactly one year since the school opened.

"The school has a special place in my heart not just because it is changing lives, but because together with Stuart and Paul from Priory Park Boxing Club, we had to fight to make it happen under difficult circumstances. The results are evident for all to see and it is a testament of the support of all staff, parents and students in this success.”

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