We are getting better, says headteacher

Latest education news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter
Latest education news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter
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The headteacher of Thomas Gainsborough School has defended its record in the face of criticism from the schools inspectorate Ofsted.

The Head Lane school received an overall rating of “requires improvement”, with the quality of teaching and achievement and behaviour of pupils given the same status.

Four inspectors, who sat through 37 lessons in July and read 85 parent questionnaires, rated the school “good” for leadership and management and for the behaviour and safety of pupils.

Wayne Lloyd, pictured, has been headteacher for 18 months – introducing its new look and name change from Great Cornard Upper School – and said a lot has happened since the last report and pupil attainment was getting better, as recognised by Ofsted’s findings.

He said: “The long and short of it is that the last time the school was inspected was 2009 when it was judged as good.

“After 2009, there were some very disappointing results in the school and we know student attainment needs improvement, not only here but also throughout Sudbury and the county.”

He said the changing Ofsted grading system meant the school received “requires improvement” as an overall grading instead of what would have been “satisfactory” in the previous Ofsted regime.

“The inspection happened before our GCSE results came out which did show improvements, and we were very pleased that Ofsted recognised that we’re a rapidly improving school,” he said.

“We have started to improve and we know we have to further to go – we will do everything we can to continue to improve.”

Ofsted said rates of progress in the majority of subjects had improved markedly in the last 18 months and strong leadership and a clear vision for the school, supported by all the staff, were recognised as strengths.

Mr Lloyd said he wanted to change the school’s sixth form, criticised by Ofsted for placing some students on courses “not best suited to their needs and abilities”. It is run jointly with Ormiston Sudbury Academy.

He added: “We are going to radically look at the way the sixth form works and I am meeting with Caroline Wilson at Ormiston Sudbury Academy to look at how we could relaunch it. What I want is high quality; too many of our students go elsewhere.”

He said the school was looking to apply for academy status for September 2014. There are also plans for a major rebuilding programme next year.