Ofsted letter to parents
17 October 2017
Dear Parents and Carers,
Ofsted report for Cuckoo Hall Academy
We wrote to you last month and promised that we would let you have a copy of the Ofsted report as soon as we were able. As most of you know, the school was inspected in July. We received the report on Friday.
I have to say that we were very disappointed by the overall judgement that the school requires ‘special measures’, as we believe Ofsted failed to acknowledge many of the very good things that have made Cuckoo Hall such a special and much loved school at the heart of the local community for so many years.
“The school has not maintained a good standard of education since the previous inspection. Unstable leadership over time has led to inadequate teaching, learning and assessment. As a result, standards have declined and pupils’ outcomes are inadequate.”
What is now important is how the school responds, moves forward and takes successful action in each of the areas identified by Ofsted, in order to secure the best possible education for all our children. A school subject to special measures needs to submit a detailed plan about how improvements will be made and will have further, regular short-notice Ofsted inspections to monitor progress. The plan needs to cover the effectiveness of leadership & management, the quality of teaching, learning and assessment, outcomes for pupils and early years provision.
We have already put together a detailed Action Plan to address all of the issues raised by Ofsted and have appointed two highly experienced school leaders to manage the school until we appoint a successor to Sharon Ahmet, who was headteacher until the end of the last academic year. Ofsted has already said that it believes we “have an accurate understanding of the challenges facing the school.”
New improvement fund
Today, I am also announcing that the Trust, of which Cuckoo Hall is a member, will be establishing an improvement fund for the school to put significant additional new
resources into supporting teaching and learning. The fund will be used to support a range of measures to improve the school and raise standards.
We had recognised that we needed to improve our results and we were already making significant changes to teaching and learning at the school before the inspection. Our provisional SATs result of 46% of children reaching the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics had improved but was not where the school wanted to be. As many parents will already have noticed, we had made changes to make the curriculum more effective, moved from matched ability learning to whole class teaching, and we have begun working with schools judged outstanding from outside of the Trust as we seek to learn from best practice.
The local governing body has been replaced by a new Rapid Improvement Board (RIB). The Board will meet frequently and oversee the Action Plan. It will also organise regular feedback sessions for parents. We will need to work very closely in partnership with our parents.
In their report, Ofsted says: “The behaviour of pupils is good…The school’s work to promote pupils’ personal development and welfare is good…Pupils say they feel safe and well-cared for at school and they know whom to go to if they have concerns or worries.”
Meetings with parents and carers
In order to give as many parents as possible the chance to attend, we will be organising meetings with you after the half term, to explain the Action plan in more detail and to hear your views and suggestions. These will take place on Monday 6 November, at 9am and 6pm and Tuesday 7 November, at 9am and 6pm.
I am sorry to have to write to you with such disappointing news. Cuckoo is a much loved school with very supportive parents. I have no doubt that working together we can succeed and make Cuckoo Hall a great school again. Our aim remains to provide outstanding education and life changing opportunities for all the children in our care.
A copy of the full Ofsted report can be viewed here.
The school office will also have a limited number of printed copies if you do not have access to the internet.
Chief Executive Officer
Cuckoo Hall Academies Trust