Ofsted praise for Burnley ‘super school’

Delighted headteacher of Sir John Thursby School, Mrs Elaine Dawson celebrates the recent excellent OFSTED report with Year 10 pupils, Niomi Latif, Claire Cook, Bilal Waseem and Dominic Kenny. G280611/4
Delighted headteacher of Sir John Thursby School, Mrs Elaine Dawson celebrates the recent excellent OFSTED report with Year 10 pupils, Niomi Latif, Claire Cook, Bilal Waseem and Dominic Kenny. G280611/4

ONE of Burnley’s new superschools is proving to be just that after receiving a glowing report from government inspectors.

Sir John Thursby Community College was rated “good with many outstanding features” by Ofsted inspectors after their recent visit.

The school, which moved into its new building in September 2009, was created from the former Barden boys and Walshaw girls schools under the Building Schools for the Future programme.

Headteacher Mrs Elaine Dawson said she was “ecstatic” with the report which she added was testament to the ethos she wanted for the school – inclusive, multi-cultural and caring.

She said: “We established that ethos when we merged schools and for three years we went through turmoil being housed in the old Walshaw building which was not fit for purpose.

“Our new home is tremendous. However, it’s not the building that makes a school, it’s the people. Having a suitable environment does help, though, and we are lucky here.”

Areas seen to be outstanding were care, guidance and support, equal opportunities, partnerships to promote learning and well-being, safeguarding and attendance.

Inspectors were also particularly impressed with the friendly and caring atmosphere within the school and student behaviour – there have been no permanent exclusions in four years.

One statement from the report reads: “Visitors cannot help but be inspired by the many and varied opportunities for learning.

“Inspectors observed good or better behaviour in a large majority of lessons. Attendance is high because of the relentless drive of staff working in partnership with families. The result is the number of persistent absentees has reduced dramatically over the last three years and is now well below the national average.”

Inspectors did note that improvement needed to be made in raising attainment by improving students’ literacy skills. Mrs Dawson said the school had pupils from 10 different nationalities including Croatian, Ukrainian, Russian and Polish.

She added: “Although for some of our students English is a second language, I don’t think the issue is as great as it once was. Having said that, we need to concentrate on making sure students’ use of literacy is better across all subjects.

“Inspectors also noted that we need to ensure more teaching is better by creating more independent learning, which we are striving to do.

“I am very proud that Ofsted have recognised the important features of our school’s ethos; individual care, inclusivity, a safe and enjoyable place to be.

“Our examination results, and importantly the progress our students make, has steadily risen since we opened. Ofsted agree that the school has the capacity to continue this trend.

“We now want to build on this report and there is no reason why our next inspection cannot be judged as outstanding.”