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Why head is proud of school, despite Ofsted's damning report
6:10am Thursday 12th December 2013 in Echo News
A HEADTEACHER has defended her school after Ofsted inspectors rated it inadequate.
Chase High School in Westcliff has been told it has serious weaknesses and that not enough has been done to improve students’ achievement.
The previous inspection, in 2011, judged it satisfactory.
However, in a frank interview with the Echo, headteacher Victoria Overy explained her policy of accepting more challenging pupils, often turned away from other schools, had meant Chase and its results had suffered.
She said: “When I took over as head two years ago there were 120 spaces at Chase. Now we only have a couple.
“We’ve taken on a fifth of our population. A lot of children have moved from other local schools and it takes time for them to settle.
“They come with some challenges, needing extra tuition and, sometimes, counselling.
“We could have done better if we hadn’t accepted these children, but we are very inclusive.
“We take children with problems from elsewhere without putting up a fight that other schools may have. We have 43 different languages spoken here, which is all for the good of our school “It has taken a bit of a toll, but I feel as a local school if a child wants to come here that’s enough. If we can’t give children another chance, what are we about?
“I took a decision and we have suffered as a result of that, but I wouldn’t make any other decision.
They are worth it.
“Obviously I do feel disappointed, but nothing the inspectors identified has been a surprise.
We’ve already been working on and striving towards these.”
Mrs Overy said of 45 lessons observed by inspectors, 14 were led by newly-qualified teachers and some had only been teaching for eight weeks.
This summer only 25 per cent of pupils gained five A* to C GCSEs including English and maths.
Mrs Overy has declared she will improve the school within 18 months.
She said: “Results will be better next summer and will be brilliant from 2015.
“The data shows we are making progress. Our sixth-form was rated good.
“I’ve just not been able to make it good enough quickly enough.
“But at no stage did I believe I could turn the school around in my first two years.
“In 18 months, when they next come, we will get a ‘good’ grading.
We will have monitoring inspections, which is a real bonus.
“We are already on the path, the key thing is continuing to improve the teaching so learners are making the progress they are entitled to.”
Inspectors said improvements are needed in the quality of teaching, particularly in English and maths, and to improve student attendance.
However, they did say ‘leadership now has many strengths’, rating it as three out of four, while recognising the school has the capacity to improve.
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