Burnley school praised, but still room for improvement

REQUIRES IMPROVEMENT: Sir John Thursby Community College
REQUIRES IMPROVEMENT: Sir John Thursby Community College

An improving Burnley secondary school has been told it needs to make more progress following an inspection by Ofsted.

Sir John Thursby Community College, in Eastern Avenue, was given the rating for achievement of pupils and the quality of teaching, though the behaviour and safety of pupils and leadership and management were said to be good.

Inspectors said the school needs improvement because pupils are under achieving in English where results are well below the national average, although attainment improved in 2013.

Inspectors said the leaders at all levels at the school were determined to improve standards.

The school’s most able Year 11 pupils were found to be achieving less well in English than their counterparts in other schools. The report found some of the work too easy at times and not enough of the teaching was consistently good and outstanding.

Inspectors said there were insufficient opportunities for pupils to think for themselves and develop ideas in writing. Feedback to pupils was said to be inconsistent and does not provide them with enough information to improve their work.

The report said: “While there is a clear shift in the school to focus on the achievement of students, the targets set for students do not always place sufficient emphasis on those students who should be making more than expected progress, such as the most able students.”

The report said: “They are already improving the quality of teaching which has led to significant improvement in mathematics.

“Students supported by the pupil premium in 2013 achieved better in English and mathematics than similar pupils nationally.

“Their attendance is also better than what is found nationally.”

Sir John Thursby pupils were also found to do particularly well in maths, science, French and German.

“Behaviour is good and students feel safe. Students show a positive attitude to their lessons and disruptions are rare. Students are polite and respectful to adults.

“This is an inclusive school that serves its community well.

Attendance and exclusion rates are much better than those found nationally. Guidance for further education and employment is excellent.”

In order to improve the school needs to improve teaching to help youngsters make better progress, especially in English, provide better feedback and set more challenging goals for pupils.

Headteacher Mr David Burton said: “We welcome the report as the lead inspector told us the school has improved hugely in the last few years with a 10% rise in achievement last year and progress is well above national standards.

“We are oversubscribed and determined to provide the very best education for our students. The report says we ‘are ambitious for the school and its role within the community.’ Leadership, management, behaviour and safety are all good and they agreed we are well on our way to being an outstanding school.”