Under-fire school head’s Ofsted vow

Head's pledge: Shuttleworth headteacher Mrs Ruth England is determined to bring stability to the school.

Head's pledge: Shuttleworth headteacher Mrs Ruth England is determined to bring stability to the school.

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The new headteacher of a failing secondary school has promised to turn it around after Government inspectors ruled that it required improvement.

Mrs Ruth England, who only took the helm at Shuttleworth College in September, said the Padiham Road school had suffered from a lack of stability since it opened.

The 41-year-old is the fourth headteacher of Shuttleworth since it opened six years ago. Previous headteacher Bob Wakefield retired at the end of the last school term.

Ofsted inspectors visited the school on September 16th and 17th and classed it as “inadequate”, citing students’ poor GCSE performance and poor planning from school leaders.

Mrs England said: “When I took this job I was well aware of the challenges the school faced, but I want to reassure parents I am here for the long run, and I want to put a plan in place that sets out a clear path for us all.

“One of the main issues highlighted in the report was the below average GCSE performance.

“Next year the results from our current Year 11 will significantly improve.

“We have made a number of changes which will be felt in the coming months and years.

“For example, we now have a very robust development plan. There will be nothing ad-hoc anymore.

“One of the big changes will be in the pupils’ coursework. Last year, the students spent too much time on this.

“Now, all the coursework has to be finished by the end of the first week in November.

“Previously, coursework went on to the end of February. This didn’t give enough time to plan for exams.”

Ofsted inspectors also criticised the school governors for not being sufficiently rigorous in holding senior leaders to account.

The current acting head of Thomas Whitham Sixth Form, Simon Davies, has been appointed chairman of governors, while the school will also appoint a new deputy and assistant headteacher in January.

Mrs England added: “I cannot change what went on in the past, I can only assure parents that Shuttleworth is a very different organisation now with much stronger leadership and much higher expectations of everyone who studies and works here.

“My first half-term has further convinced me of the true potential of staff and students here and my commitment is stronger than ever.”