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Union anger over Lowestoft school Ofsted report

PUBLISHED: 07:12 08 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:23 06 July 2010

Union chiefs have hit out at the "naming and shaming" of Lowestoft's biggest school by inspectors and launched a staunch defence of its teachers.

Kirkley High School was given an overall "inadequate" rating in a report released last week, with inspectors revealing education had "deteriorated considerably" since the school's previous audit in 2006.

Union chiefs have hit out at the “naming and shaming” of Lowestoft's biggest school by inspectors and launched a staunch defence of its teachers.

Kirkley High School was given an overall “inadequate” rating in a report released last week, with inspectors revealing education had “deteriorated considerably” since the school's previous audit in 2006.

The scathing report led to the school being put on special measures, with its new headteacher pledging to turn its fortunes around.

In a statement released by the National Union of Teachers (NUT), Suffolk secretary Graham White said: “Suffolk NUT does not believe that putting schools into a category such as special measures helps anyone. This 'naming and shaming' is damaging to staff, pupils, the school in general and the local community.

“What schools need is help and support, both financial and non-financial, from both government and local authority to secure improvements. Why has the authority allowed the school to get worse?”

Mr White added: “The staff did not and do not want the school to be in special measures and I am sure they will do all they can to get the school out of it.”

The Ofsted report said that while Kirkley High's governing body had shown commitment to the school, it had “presided over a serious decline in both the quality of education and school's finances, which are in deficit”. It added that the 1,171-pupil school's capacity to improve was “inadequate” and that the quality of teaching was “not good enough”.

Peter Byatt, Lowestoft NUT secretary, said: “All the staff at Kirkley High have tried hard to improve education there and will continue to do so.”

An Ofsted spokesman said: “Ofsted has a statutory duty to inspect all schools to which section five of the Education Act 2005 applies. This duty extends to reporting the findings through the school's inspection report, which is published and reported to parents.”

Rosalind Turner, director for children and young people at Suffolk County Council, said: “Our key focus is to bring about rapid improvement in educational achievement at Kirkley High School by raising standards in teaching and learning.

“This will be through training, extensive monitoring and support, and ensuring that all staff are clear what is expected of them and can deliver what is asked of them.”

Mrs Turner she was confident headteacher Richard Pickard would improve the school and that a national adviser was being consulted to help raise standards. She added that new investment was being made in the school and bids for further funding would be made.

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