Lowestoft’s Benjamin Britten High School confident of better results despite Ofsted criticism over improvement plan

Benjamin Britten high School headteacher Andrew Hine.

Benjamin Britten high School headteacher Andrew Hine. - Credit: Nick Butcher

A school which reached what its headteacher described as a low point in its history after a poor set of examination results has said it is expecting a 'marked improvement' in GCSE scores this year following changes made when it was put into special measures.

Youngsters collect GCSE results at Benjamin Britten high School, Lowestoft.Rhys Poffley, Sam Riely a

Youngsters collect GCSE results at Benjamin Britten high School, Lowestoft.Rhys Poffley, Sam Riely and Jacob Arcbold. - Credit: Nick Butcher

However, an Ofsted inspector said Benjamin Britten High School's action plan for improvement was not fit for purpose and required a number of changes.

In a monitoring inspection published on Wednesday (February 4) by Ofsted, inspector Paul Lawrence praised BBHS for acting quickly to 'provide the strategic direction necessary to bring about the rapid improvement required' after it was given an 'inadequate' rating last year.

He added: 'The acceptance of all parties that an interim executive board is needed demonstrates the willingness of the school's leaders to undertake whatever change is necessary to secure improvement.'

However Mr Lawrence said that although BBHS has 'worked constructively with the local authority performance adviser' and had resolved an industrial dispute which saw a large number of its teachers on strike during its last inspection, the school's action was still not fit for purpose.

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'The effectiveness and pace of improvement are currently hampered by the weaknesses in the school's own action plan,' he said.

He added that the plan 'does not cover all the areas highlighted for improvement in the inspection report', such as specific strands for improving numeracy in year-seven and monitoring the welfare and progress of students taught off-site in alternative provision.

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However BBHS said those areas had been covered in the plan, just that they had not been made clear enough.

Mr Lawrence added: 'The school needs a longer-term vision of its improvement journey.

'The local authority statement of action is similarly too short-term.

'It does not contain any actions beyond March 2015 and it needs to be extended to demonstrate how the local authority will continue to support the school to improve.'

Assistant headteacher Colin Goffin said BBHS had brought about a number of positive changes, such as the school's Heads of House getting more involved in identifying pupils who need help, as well as teachers planning for students' personalised needs in lessons.

Andrew Hine, headteacher of the school in Blyford Road, Lowestoft, said: 'I am pleased that the report recognises our determination to move the school forward.

'We are addressing all the issues raised in the Ofsted inspection report and at present we are monitoring the impact of changes that have been made last term and implementing the recommendations from the independent reviews that we commissioned.

'Our tracking of students' progress suggests that we should see a marked improvement in GCSE results this summer compared to last year.

'During the monitoring visit, the inspector made suggestions about how the plans produced by the school and local authority should be sharpened to make them more effective, with some specific actions being made more explicit and extending the plan to ensure progress is reviewed and sustained through the monitoring period.

'The changes have already been actioned by the school will be examined at the next monitoring visit.'

What do you think about the standard of teaching at BBHS? Write, giving your full contact details, to: Journal Postbox, 147 London Road North, Lowestoft NR32 1NB or email andrew.papworth@archant.co.uk

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