Staff and parents shocked by damning Ofsted report

Salisbury Journal: Head Alex Wills Head Alex Wills

A SECONDARY school has reacted angrily to a damning “inadequate” verdict after its Ofsted inspection, describing it as "deeply unjust".

Inspectors said Ferndown Upper School, which takes children from the Verwood area, suffered from inadequate teaching, inadequate pupil achievement and that the behaviour and safety of pupils, and its leadership and management “require improvement”.

But headteacher Alex Wills has made a formal complaint against the way they carried out their assessment, and says the school has “grave concerns” about the process.

He said: “The school was inspected for two days on January 9 and 10. The final report was published last Friday.

“The governors and staff of the school do not agree with the findings of the inspection and have grave concerns about the process used to gather evidence.

“These formed the basis of an extensive complaint submitted to Ofsted on January 23. Ofsted are considering this complaint but have not yet entered into any discussion with the school in an effort to resolve these issues.

“As the complaint is still pending we cannot comment further on the school report.”

But he added: “We are proud of the many achievements and successes of our students and have every confidence in the school, its parents and the local community we serve. Students feel safe and happy and are rightly proud of their school.”

Ofsted inspectors were crushing in their assessment of the school, despite many parents submitting glowing reports before the inspection, in Ofsted’s Parentview survey.

After their report went online parents also rushed to praise the school on social media websites, saying their children were thriving and happy there.

But inspectors said: “Achievement is inadequate because both past and current students have not made sufficient progress, especially in English.

“Teaching is inadequate because too often work is not set at the right level of difficulty for different abilities, especially the most and the least able.

“Progress for many groups of students, especially students who are eligible for the pupil premium, boys and those students who are disabled or who have special educational needs, is too slow.

“Leaders have not taken the actions needed to improve teaching and achievement, particularly in English, quickly enough.”

They added: “Teachers do not always get the best out of students because they do not provide enough challenge and do not capture their interest.

“Marking of students’ work varies too much in quality between subjects and teachers.

“Behaviour requires improvement because fixed-term exclusions and the proportion of students who are persistently absent are too high.

“The sixth form requires improvement because there is not enough good teaching and students do not make the progress they should.”

And they said: “Governors do not check that the leaders are doing the right things to bring about improvement.”

Inspectors did say the school was improving after adopting an action plan, and that: “The school promotes high quality spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Students feel safe.”

They also said there was some effective teaching in maths and science, and that targets were now being set better after a system was put in place to check pupils’ progress.

Read Mr Wills' letter to parents at http://fernup.dorset.sch.uk/news/ofsted-letter-to-all-parents-from-headteacher/.

Comments (10)

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9:42am Thu 20 Mar 14

lyn-rb says...

I am very very happy with the school, progress my child is making in year 9 and her results to date. Having had another child go tho a differing school, I have absolutely no complaints about Ferndown upper, and only praise for
the school! All workplaces have their ups and downs but I for one am extremely happy that my daughter chose to attend that school and feel it's ofsted isn't showing any reflection of the school I know.
I am very very happy with the school, progress my child is making in year 9 and her results to date. Having had another child go tho a differing school, I have absolutely no complaints about Ferndown upper, and only praise for the school! All workplaces have their ups and downs but I for one am extremely happy that my daughter chose to attend that school and feel it's ofsted isn't showing any reflection of the school I know. lyn-rb
  • Score: 19

9:45am Thu 20 Mar 14

lyn-rb says...

I am very very happy with the school, progress my child is making in year 9 and her results to date. Having had another child go through a differing school, I have absolutely no complaints about Ferndown upper, and only praise for
the school! All workplaces have their ups and downs but I for one am extremely happy that my daughter chose to attend that school and feel it's ofsted isn't showing any reflection of the school I know.
I am very very happy with the school, progress my child is making in year 9 and her results to date. Having had another child go through a differing school, I have absolutely no complaints about Ferndown upper, and only praise for the school! All workplaces have their ups and downs but I for one am extremely happy that my daughter chose to attend that school and feel it's ofsted isn't showing any reflection of the school I know. lyn-rb
  • Score: 10

10:24am Thu 20 Mar 14

Davojo says...

My son is currently studying at the school and is in year 9. He is incredibly happy and feels safe at this school. His attainment to date at the school is beyond our expectation. So with this is mind I can only say that he is thriving there. From our point of view we see no inadequacy in the teaching and care provided to him. I would be happy to represent my view as a parent to show support to the school when they appeal the report.
My son is currently studying at the school and is in year 9. He is incredibly happy and feels safe at this school. His attainment to date at the school is beyond our expectation. So with this is mind I can only say that he is thriving there. From our point of view we see no inadequacy in the teaching and care provided to him. I would be happy to represent my view as a parent to show support to the school when they appeal the report. Davojo
  • Score: 19

10:58am Thu 20 Mar 14

JKitch says...

Being a former student there, I can not disagree more with what Ofsted have put. The point that former students have achieved not as much as they should, that makes me feel totally worthless and most other students would probably feel the same. Yes I admit I didn't do well in my A-levels than I should of done, but this hasn't stop me from doing an Open University course on my own accord from home and achieving a diploma in design and innovation and now I'm going on to achieve a degree in technology. I also know other students who have achieved a lot since leaving there. The teaching in both sixth form and the school are definitely adequate and more than most teachers are capable of capturing our interests. I also don't like how they are stereotyping certain groups of people about their progress again the school was very good not to single out others and help them when it was needed to get to the stage of other students. I am deeply appalled by the Ofsted comments and I might even consider emailing this comment to the school so they can have some positivity.
Being a former student there, I can not disagree more with what Ofsted have put. The point that former students have achieved not as much as they should, that makes me feel totally worthless and most other students would probably feel the same. Yes I admit I didn't do well in my A-levels than I should of done, but this hasn't stop me from doing an Open University course on my own accord from home and achieving a diploma in design and innovation and now I'm going on to achieve a degree in technology. I also know other students who have achieved a lot since leaving there. The teaching in both sixth form and the school are definitely adequate and more than most teachers are capable of capturing our interests. I also don't like how they are stereotyping certain groups of people about their progress again the school was very good not to single out others and help them when it was needed to get to the stage of other students. I am deeply appalled by the Ofsted comments and I might even consider emailing this comment to the school so they can have some positivity. JKitch
  • Score: 24

3:08pm Thu 20 Mar 14

sammyflin says...

I have 2 children in FUS and would like to say that they are both thriving. Both children are very happy in the school and the teachers have been extremely supportive especially during this time on the run up to GCSE exams. The school runs many extra revision and study sessions for students which have been very helpful. I was really pleased to find that with the extra literacy lessons my son has recieved each week since starting at the school in September that his reading and writing skills have improved hugely. The OFSTED report does not reflect the school we know.
I have 2 children in FUS and would like to say that they are both thriving. Both children are very happy in the school and the teachers have been extremely supportive especially during this time on the run up to GCSE exams. The school runs many extra revision and study sessions for students which have been very helpful. I was really pleased to find that with the extra literacy lessons my son has recieved each week since starting at the school in September that his reading and writing skills have improved hugely. The OFSTED report does not reflect the school we know. sammyflin
  • Score: 16

7:56pm Thu 20 Mar 14

p68795885 says...

this school deserved such low ratings. my daughter was seriously bullied when she was in that school and has lead her to suffer from depression because both the teacher and headmaster did not take any action after we have reported to the several times. i would never recommend anybody send their child there
this school deserved such low ratings. my daughter was seriously bullied when she was in that school and has lead her to suffer from depression because both the teacher and headmaster did not take any action after we have reported to the several times. i would never recommend anybody send their child there p68795885
  • Score: -9

8:00pm Thu 20 Mar 14

Champers says...

I've never understood how such sweeping statements by Ofsted, both positive and negative, can be made after a paltry 2 day inspection. How can they get a feel for a school and it's day to day operation in such a short period? Much of their results are picked up from online submissions and we all know how misleading these can be. Schools nowadays are spending more time 'teaching' for inspectors and SATs rather than for the benefit of the children.
I've never understood how such sweeping statements by Ofsted, both positive and negative, can be made after a paltry 2 day inspection. How can they get a feel for a school and it's day to day operation in such a short period? Much of their results are picked up from online submissions and we all know how misleading these can be. Schools nowadays are spending more time 'teaching' for inspectors and SATs rather than for the benefit of the children. Champers
  • Score: 14

6:10pm Fri 21 Mar 14

anon.ferndown says...

fair enough, the school is a gateway for a drug life and bad jobs... thank you ofsted for pointing something out. my name is aaron doye and i went their and left in 2013.... leaving was the best part of my school life! its not my decision where you send your kids, im just stating my thaught on FUS.... terrible !!!
fair enough, the school is a gateway for a drug life and bad jobs... thank you ofsted for pointing something out. my name is aaron doye and i went their and left in 2013.... leaving was the best part of my school life! its not my decision where you send your kids, im just stating my thaught on FUS.... terrible !!! anon.ferndown
  • Score: -6

6:12pm Fri 21 Mar 14

anon.ferndown says...

fair enough, the school is a gateway for a drug life and bad jobs... thank you ofsted for pointing something out. my name is aaron doye and i went their and left in 2013.... leaving was the best part of my school life! its not my decision where you send your kids, im just stating my thought on FUS.... terrible !!!
fair enough, the school is a gateway for a drug life and bad jobs... thank you ofsted for pointing something out. my name is aaron doye and i went their and left in 2013.... leaving was the best part of my school life! its not my decision where you send your kids, im just stating my thought on FUS.... terrible !!! anon.ferndown
  • Score: -5

11:38am Sun 23 Mar 14

KCpaddy says...

I am outraged at the way Ofsted gathered evidence, only looking for the negative. The school does not deserve this judgment, of course there are areas that need improvement, aren't there in every school? The Headteacher has done a fantastic job with the school and is continuing to do so by continually addressing, resolving and improving.
I know a lot of parents and I have had only 1 negative comment made to me. My Daughter has improved year on year and has been very happy there.
The impact on the students is sad, some think it's there fault and have apologised to teachers!! The students have been reassured by staff and senior leadership that they are in no way to blame for this judgement and to be proud of what they have achieved so far.
The Summer results are looking to be better than ever and higher than the national average!
I am outraged at the way Ofsted gathered evidence, only looking for the negative. The school does not deserve this judgment, of course there are areas that need improvement, aren't there in every school? The Headteacher has done a fantastic job with the school and is continuing to do so by continually addressing, resolving and improving. I know a lot of parents and I have had only 1 negative comment made to me. My Daughter has improved year on year and has been very happy there. The impact on the students is sad, some think it's there fault and have apologised to teachers!! The students have been reassured by staff and senior leadership that they are in no way to blame for this judgement and to be proud of what they have achieved so far. The Summer results are looking to be better than ever and higher than the national average! KCpaddy
  • Score: 4

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