New head vows to turn round 'inadequate' Pendle school

West Craven High was rated inadequate
West Craven High was rated inadequate

A newly appointed principal has vowed to turn round a Pendle school rated "inadequate" in a recent Ofsted inspection.

Government inspectors found a number of failings at West Craven High School in Barnoldswick and was classed as inadequate in the quality of its education, behaviour and attitudes, and leadership and management. It was also deemed to require imrpovement in the pupils' personal development.

Mrs Tracy Foy took on the leadership position at West Craven in the same month of the Ofsted inspection, and has said her first priority is to drive up standards and ensure a rise to ‘good’ status.

Mrs Foy has come from White Rose Academies Trust in Leeds, where she saw Leeds City Academy secure their best ever GCSE examination results last summer.

The report highlighted the high staffing number of staffing changes which had badly hampered the students' education and behaviour.

The inspectors stated: "Leaders do not have high enough expectations for pupils. Some pupils do not behave well. This disrupts the learning of others.

"Leaders do not ensure that pupils know what is acceptable and what is not. Pupils believe that they are safe. However, pupils who are vulnerable to harm or neglect are at risk of slipping through the net because the school’s systems for keeping pupils safe are not watertight.

"Pupils told us that if bullying happens, leaders are slow to deal with it. Therefore, pupils resort to managing it themselves."

Steps for improvement were already being put in place following an internal assessment to ensure a rapid turnaround for the Kelbrook Road school.

Over the past few weeks, the senior leadership team has also been further strengthened with the appointment of two new deputy principals.

Mrs Foy and the team at West Craven High School are now looking forward to welcoming Ofsted inspectors back to the academy on five monitoring visits over the next two years.

Prior to the inspection the school strengthened all safeguarding processes with Mrs Foy becoming the new Designated Senior Leader for Safeguarding.

They also welcomed a number of good and experienced teachers at the start of the academic year to complement and strengthen the staff team.

The academy’s work on personal development, including the careers curriculum were highlighted as positives by the inspectors with them praising students’ involvement in a range of activities to support their development including the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and Prince’s Trust schemes and their contribution to local charity events.

The inspectors confirmed that students receive effective careers information, advice and guidance and that students with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are well looked after.

Mrs Foy said: “We are incredibly disappointed with the Grade 4 given by Ofsted but it matched our assessment prior to the visit.

"We do not intend to make excuses for the school being in this position and have invited any of our parents and carers who have questions about the judgement to meet with our senior leadership team where we can share in more detail with them our plans for rapid improvement.

“We have worked with our Student Council to produce a clear vision for the academy: to be an exceptional school providing the highest quality education and preparation for the rest of students’ lives. This vision will underpin the improvements we make to the academy in the coming months."

Anita Ghidotti, chief executive of Pendle Education Trust, added: “We are obviously taking this Oftsed judgement extremely seriously and are working with Tracy and the new team at West Craven to change things around at pace.”

Principal and chief executive of Nelson and Colne College Group, Amanda Melton, said: “We fully support the work that is already going on at West Craven High School to address the issues identified by Ofsted.

"We firmly believe these changes will ensure the academy becomes the secondary education provider that students and parents in Barnoldswick, Earby and surrounding villages deserve.”