Head hits out at OFSTED school inspectors

Staff and pupils at Middleton School

Staff and pupils at Middleton School

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Middleton on the Wolds 
executive headteacher Steve Woodhouse had criticised his school’s latest Ofsted report as “data driven” and “narrow minded”.

As revealed in last week’s Driffield Post, the primary school was recently given the grade of ‘requires improvement’ after a two day inspection before the Christmas break.

“We are very disappointed with the outcome of the inspection as it doesn’t reflect our current school’s status,” said Mr Woodhouse.

“Having been a headteacher for many years, as well as a being involved in inspections in other parts of the county, I know good teaching when I see it. Our school has good and outstanding teaching every day of the week.”

Ofsted use data for the past three years to evaluate a school’s effectiveness and Mr Woodhouse admits that standards haven’t always looked good enough.

“When I joined the school, its results had been below the national average, we accept that.

“In small schools like ours, one child can be worth 10% or more of our figures. If that child has special needs, is absent or goes on holiday, it has a massive impact. Two or more and our standards, on paper, drop dramatically.”

The most recent set of SATs results, from May 2013, show that the school achieved its best results for five years with children achieving well above the national average.

“If the inspection had taken place later this year the data picture would be very different,” said Mr Woodhouse.

“Many of our parents have expressed their sympathy with the staff as they do not believe the judgement to be an accurate reflection on what they see as being a good school.”

Ofsted identified the teaching of maths as an area for development; something the school was already working on.

“Mrs Hedges, our mobile mathematician, is a specialist in mathematical pedagogy. She is working with children and staff to ensure maths gets the extra focus it deserves.”

The school will be re-inspected in the next 12 to 24 months when Mr Woodhouse expects to receive a good grading.

“Our current data shows that children will perform very well in the national tests over the coming years. It’s just a shame that so much is determined by one week of SATs tests.

“Schools always require improvement in some way or another and we will continue to develop our teaching to become even better.”

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