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Ofsted says school is on road to recovery

Orders to improve, but inspectors praise new head

10 March, 2016 — By Dan Carrier

ACLAND Burghley School is on track to climb up Ofsted’s performance tables but a new report warns that it still “requires improvement”. In the first inspection findings since the appointment of new headteacher Nicholas John, staff were praised for “successfully changing the culture of the school”. It follows a turbulent three years for the school in Burghley Road, Tufnell Park, which has traditionally been a secondary school popular among families on both sides of the Camden and Islington border. A critical report in 2013 saw the school lose its more familiar “good” status among inspectors after being ordered to make swift improvements to teaching and school life. It led to an overhaul of how the school was run. During the peak of its ­crisis, Sue Higgins, the headteacher at nearby ­Parliament Hill School, came across to manage both schools at the same time. Mr John joined in September vowing to help the turnaround. Inspectors visited the school earlier this year and ruled this week that “teaching and standards are improving, especially in English”. Their report also highlighted Mr John, as a “key strength”, and added: “Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is strong.” But they also said pupils were still not improving fast enough in some crucial areas, including maths, and therefore the school falls into the “requires improvement” category, the bottom rung in Ofsted’s four-stage scoring system. Mr John told the New Journal: “They have given us a clear judgment that tallies with ours. We feel it is accurate and helpful and gives us a mandate to move forward. We are on track to be sustainably good by this time next year. That is what I said since I started. “I want a long-term strategic approach, and we need to be really active in our self-evaluation and be clear about what our strengths and weaknesses are. We know exactly what needs doing.” He said by the end of the summer term the school would have in place a new timetable and curriculum, drawing on the inspectors’ recommendations. “We need to ensure we understand the needs of each student and use our diversity as an opportunity but it is complex,” said Mr John. “We need to be accurate in terms of pin-pointing needs to be able to assess fairly accurately what each child does.”

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