Whitecross Hereford High School and Specialist Sports College have issued a statement after receiving an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating.

A spokesperson for Whitecross Hereford told Your Herefordshire:

The community of Whitecross High School is shocked and saddened by the outcome of its Ofsted inspection in February. The report, published this week, judges the school to beInadequate for overall effectiveness.

Headteacher, Tim Knapp said, ‘Everyone involved in our school is devastated by an outcome that does not reflect the hard work of our students and staff and the support of our parents and governors. 

The judgement is the result of an issue relating to the pre-employment checks on two of our volunteer governors. Neither governor was ever in school unaccompanied and the school believed it had met the requirements for safer recruitment checks for the two individuals. Ofsted disagreed and because of this technical matter, it was judged that safeguarding was not effective and that therefore Leadership and Management must also be judged Inadequate. An Inadequate judgement for Leadership and Management automatically means the judgement overall must be Inadequate.’

However, no child was ever at risk and as the report itself makes clear: ‘Leaders have robust systems in place to safeguard pupils who are at risk. Leaders know their pupils well and are tenacious in securing the help that they need.’

In addition to praising the safeguarding of students, the report rightly recognises the quality of education and provision for students. It states that, ‘Leaders and staff have high expectations of behaviour in lessons and around the school’ and that, ‘Pupils say that bullying rarely happens. Staff intervene effectively if it does occur. Pupils told inspectors that they feel safe in the school.’

In praising the school’s quality of education, the reports states that, ‘Leaders have developed a well-planned and well-sequenced curriculum. Teachers have good subject knowledge and choose their teaching methods carefully. Leaders have clear systems to identify and meet the needs of pupils with SEND. They share useful information with teachers. The teaching assistants support them well in lessons. Pupils with SEND achieve well.’ 

The report also refers to, ‘a wide selection of extracurricular opportunities for pupils’ and that ‘pupils’ personal development is prioritised.’

In commenting on the judgement of Requires Improvement for Behaviour and Attitudes, Mr Knapp told parents, ‘The reason for the judgement of Requires Improvement for Behaviour and Attitudes is due to an interpretation of our current suspension data; an interpretation that we believe does not reflect the work we do to support students whilst also upholding the highest standards.’

Marc Hales, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said, ‘We are bitterly disappointed with this outcome. The judgement, which we have challenged through the complaints process, does not reflect the school’s provision for our children but is based on a technical matter relating to safeguarding checks. I want to pay tribute to both the staff who routinely go above and beyond and to our fantastic students. Together I believe we continue to make our school a great place to be.’

Mr Knapp also said, ‘We remain the same school we were before the inspection and will continue to strive to create the very best school we can. We are never complacent and have already addressed the areas for improvement raised in the report. I am confident that with a prompt re-inspection we will quickly be able to put this report behind us.’