OFSTED inspectors rate Burnley school 'good' but call for more 'ambitious' curriculum to expand students' knowledge and skills

A new behaviour policy introduced at a Burnley high school has been praised by OFSTED inspectors.

Monday, 2nd March 2020, 3:26 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd March 2020, 3:27 pm

Inspectors said that the policy has already improved the behaviour of pupils in lessons at Sir John Thursby Community College.

And while younger students said that behaviour in classrooms was better at the school in Eastern Avenue older pupils, staff and leaders felt there was still more work to be done to improve it in all areas of the school.

Leaders have introduced a three step guide to students' behaviour at the school called 'Ready, Respectful, safe' and teachers reported this has already improved students' behaviour. Inspectors agreed and said that pupils behaved well in most lessons and they were rewarded for that and also for the effort they put into their work.

OFSTED inspectors have rated Burnley's Sir John Thursby Community College as good.

Pupils told inspectors they felt safe at school, they have good relationships with staff and also that bullying is rare and when it happens adults dealt with it well.

This was the first inspection at the school since it was judged to be good in 2016. Inspectors return every four years to confirm the rating still stands and while Sir John Thursby retains its good rating inspectors have said that the curriculum in key stage three is not 'ambitiious 'enough which means that pupils do not develop the wide range of knowledge and skills they need to succeed in life.

In response to this headteacher Rob Browning said plans were already in place to address this issue.

He said: "A new inspection framework came into place in September, 2019 that appears to favour a three year key stage three curriculum model.

"Despite good outcomes and that fact that all our students from last year are either in full time education, employment or training, OFSTED feel that we need to strengthen our curriculum on key stage three.

"We already had plans to do this and, as with many other schools, we have been revising and reviewing our key stage three curriculum to include more length and breadth."

The report found that teachers have high expectations of what pupils can achieve at key stage four and they have the chance to study a wide range of subjects with teachers encouraging them to study a modern foreign language and either History or Geography at GCSE level.

Teachers at Sir John Thursby were praised for having a good subject knowledge and being able to identify gaps in pupils' learning to help improve their work and by the end of year 11 pupils make progress that is similar to others nationally.

OFSTED inspectors recognised that Sir John Thursby encourages pupils to experience life and culture beyond school with lots of trips and all students visit a museum, the theatre and a sporting event during their time at the school.

The school's safeguarding was hightlighted in the inspection and the team of workers responsible for delivering it were praised for being 'knowledgeable and well trained.'

Inspectors said: "Leaders put pupils' interests first. Staff are well trained to identify and respond to concerns, they use the school referral system well and pass on concerns, no matter how small."

The report also said the school has a team of workers to ensure that pupils and families receive the support they need. This is backed up by the team working closely with external support agencies. Pupils are also taught how to keep themselves safe, including online.

Inspectors also said that leaders understand the risks that exist in the local community and act to protect pupils from them.