Monitoring visit for Wolverhampton school ‘needing improvement’

A secondary school in Wolverhampton that was deemed in need of improvement by education chiefs in 2018 has been visited by Ofsted.

Wednesfield High Specialist Engineering Academy
Wednesfield High Specialist Engineering Academy

Wednesfield High Specialist Engineering Academy, in Lichfield Road, caters for more than 800 pupils aged 11 to 18 years old.

Ofsted has temporarily suspended full inspections since the onset of Covid-19, and is instead visiting around 1,200 UK schools across all grades for monitoring purposes.

In a letter to the head of school Niki Carpenter, Ofsted Inspector Alun Williams said: “Ofsted’s visits to schools during the autumn term are not inspections. We are not giving graded judgements.

“We did not undertake the usual range of inspection activities and were unable to check other sources of evidence, such as visits to lessons or looking at pupils’ work.”

The letter said that since reopening fully on September 3, pupil attendance at the school had been a little lower than normal for the time of year. However, staff were working with a small number of families to encourage regular attendance, it was noted.

At the time of Ofsted’s visit, only one class – in Year 8 – was learning at home in a ‘bubble’.

The letter added: “Pupils are studying their usual range of subjects and some changes have been made to what is taught in a few subjects.

“For example, teachers of science in Years 7 to 11 now demonstrate practical experiments rather than pupils carrying out the experiments themselves.

“In Year 7 teachers have completed assessments of what pupils know and understand using externally-marked tests. In all other years, teachers are using assessment activities as part of their usual teaching.

“Each department is currently bringing this information together in a ‘recovery plan’ that will aim to identify and address gaps in pupils’ learning.

“A greater focus has been placed on activities that support pupils’ wellbeing this term, as part of the school’s personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education programme."

The letter also noted that teachers routinely uploaded learning resources for lessons to the school’s website, enabling children who are self-isolating to access them on the student portal. Teachers provided printed packs for pupils unable to access work online.

The last full inspection at the school, carried out in December 2018, recorded it as “requiring improvement”.

No-one from Wednesfield High was available to comment.

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