TEACHERS left and others went back to school to improve their work at Hameldon Community College after a bad report, and now they have been told they are on the right track to getting better marks.
The school was given notice to improve after a scathing school inspection in June. Lessons were under the Ofsted spotlight again a fortnight ago, but this time the school has been told it is making satisfactory progress in putting right issues that need improving.
Headteacher Gill Broom said the school’s self evaluation had always been honest and accurate. “We know where support is needed and we have done a lot of work,” she said. Government inspector Shirley Gornall acknowledged that achievement is rising because teaching is improving. More children are achieving better exam results, performances in maths and English are up, and predicted GCSE marks for this summer are looking good across the board.
There are only 342 pupils at Hameldon, less than half the 750 it can hold. Pupils say they like being there as it is like belonging in a family where everyone knows each other.
In her monitoring report Mrs Gornall said the school has largely eradicated inadequate teaching and the majority of lessons are now good or better. Lessons for teachers included learning how to match how and what they teach with students’ abilities.
However, Mrs Gornall said there is still a lack of consistency in the quality of teaching. “There has been some turbulence in staffing, including the early retirement of the head of mathematics,” she said, and, although teaching has improved, there remains a core that is no better than satisfactory: teachers know what students need, but do not plan how to meet what the children need to learn.
Some teachers mark well, but others do not. Those falling down on the job do not correct pupils’ spelling and grammar, thus missing the chance to show children how to use English properly in every subject.
The school has more than twice the national average of children with special needs and/or disabilities. There is now more classroom support to help children with their reading so they can have a better grasp on other subjects. The school’s Hearing Impaired department is the designated specialist centre for East Lancashire.
Said Miss Broom: “We’ve done very well and have a lot to celebrate about raising our attainment.” She added: “The joy of a smaller school is that we know the emotional and academic needs of our children and can map what is needed so that all the students make their expected progress, or better.”