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Must do better, inspectors tell Archway school

After previous ‘Outstanding’ rating, Ofsted say teaching ‘has not been good enough’

07 December, 2018 — By Samantha Booth

A PREVIOUSLY “outstanding” Archway high school has been told by the education watchdog it must improve standards after a new inspection.

Ofsted has rated St Aloysius’ RC College, in Hornsey Lane, as “requires improvement” after visiting the school last month.

It praised the work of the all-boys school’s new management but said teaching “has not been good enough to ensure that pupils make strong progress across subjects”. Ofsted said new practices are beginning to “improve teaching, despite not being welcomed” by some members of staff.

Reacting to the report, Ken Muller, press officer for the Islington branch of the National Education Union, said some union members at the school have felt “demoralised” in recent months and had left as a result.

He added: “How did the school go from ‘Outstanding’ in its previous Ofsted inspection in 2012, to ‘Requires Improvement’ in this one, when the staff are more or less the same? St Aloysius may need to improve in some areas, but overall it is a good school, and teachers, pupils and parents share this perception.”

Associate headteacher Andy English, who was appointed in September, said new practices are beginning to “improve teaching”. He added: “Our staff are being supported and challenged to secure the change that we need. These [practices] are essential to secure the positive outcomes we wish to secure.”

The school hit the headlines in January after former headteacher Tom Mannion was arrested on suspicion of fraud. Police told the 74-year-old in September that no further action will be taken against him, but the arrest – in which he spent three hours in a police cell – saw a turbulent period in which he was suspended from the school. Mr Mannion’s retirement was brought forward to the spring.

Jane Heffernan, from Cardinal Pole School in Hackney, was appointed as executive headteacher in April. She works alongside Mr English, and there is also a new governing body.

The Ofsted report states that in 2017 pupils working towards GCSE examinations made “inadequate” progress in science and humanities.

The following year there was a “slight” improvement in most subjects. More than one in 10 pupils left the school at the end of Year 10, which Ofsted said is an “exceptionally high proportion”.

Inspectors also said: “Leaders have raised expectations for staff performance, and they encourage pupils to aspire to higher academic success.”

But the report states “too few teachers are ambitious enough for their pupils”. Outcomes for pupils and their sixth-form programmes also “require improvement”.

St Aloysius said in a statement they were “resolute” for a “swift turn around” in standards, adding: “It should be noted that the framework in place for making judgments in 2012 is significantly different from the one in use today. Standards within education have risen considerably.”

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