School’s special hopes

Gavin Chappell -
Gavin Chappell -

A HEADTEACHER is confident that his school can be lifted out of special measures by the end of the academic year.

The latest visit by OFSTED inspectors to The Market Weighton School has shown that both staff and students are making impressive progress, 12 months after being heavily criticised.

The 560-pupil Spring Road school hit the headlines when it was found that teaching had not been up to scratch and pupils’ achievements had been inadequate.

Since then former headteacher Phil Tibbetts resigned due to ill health and was replaced by acting head, Gavin Chappell. The school was also forced to scrap an intake of sixth-form students earlier this month due to a lack of interest.

But following two further inspections, including one at the start of this term, the improvements are helping to put the school on the right track according to Mr Chappell.

Giving less than two days notice, two inspectors spent two days at the school and noted on the improved standard of teaching, behaviour amongst pupils had vastly improved with no concerns reported in 25 consecutive lessons.

Mr Chappell said: “It was only 18 working days after the last visit, which is unheard of. It was a bit of a surprise for everyone, and a real challenge to be inspected after only one week of a new school term.

“We thought it would be November time, but this has given us a really good start to the year.

“We are making the right progress to take the school out of special measures- it’s always been an aim to do it this academic year.”

Mr Chappell had previously worked at South Hunsley School, which was asked to help turn around The Market Weighton School.

Along with a pleasing set of GCSE results which saw a marked improvement on the previous two years, he now hopes the reported improvements can help mend the school’s reputation, which was understandably bruised by last year’s report.

It led to less than 20 pupils wanting to sign up for the sixth-form A-level courses this month, forcing the school to abandon plans for a year 12.

Although the decision lies with the local authority and the school governors, Mr Chappell hopes that it could be reinstated next year should improvements continue.

“Quite rightly, the way the school has been perceived in the community has taken a blow, but the kids and the staff are doing some really good things,” he commented.

“Everyone has been professional and determined to show they are well behaved and they are good.

“It’s been challenging coming to a school in special measures because everyone has been finding it tough. It was a blow to everyone’s confidence, not just staff but pupils as well. They have shown the determination to improve.”

The Market Weighton School remains the only secondary school in the East Riding in special measures after it was announced this week that the progress of Howden School and Technology College was no longer of serious concern.