An ‘ambitious vision and clear plan’ for improvements at Heathfield Community School is already delivering results, according to Ofsted inspectors.
The Taunton school was rated ‘inadequate’ during its previous inspection in the spring, but a recent monitoring visit has seen inspectors herald the progress being made in a number of key areas.
The visit was scheduled to assess improvements made since the previous inspection, not to re-grade the school. However, inspectors believe actions taken by school leaders since their previous visit are already moving Heathfield in the right direction.
New staff recruitment – including confirmation that a previously interim headteacher would be made permanent, and other senior appointments – and training has helped to trigger improvements in student safeguarding and behaviour.
Attendance has risen too, while additional support for families has led to ‘some notable success stories’, according to inspectors.
The school is also rolling out new measures to help students with additional needs to engage more successfully with the curriculum.
These steps have been endorsed by the local authority and supported by the Cabot Learning Federation – a schools trust which Heathfield will formally join on December 1.
The Ofsted inspectors said: “The school has taken some action to address the areas of weakness identified at the previous inspection. The school has an ambitious vision and a clear plan for how this will be achieved.
“The school has prioritised actions to ensure that pupils are safe. For example, the school has assured the safety of pupils attending alternative provision. Additionally, all staff follow an agreed protocol so that statutory guidance for attendance is in place. All staff receive regular safeguarding training.
“The school has introduced an effective approach to reduce disruptive behaviour. Staff and pupils report that behaviour has improved as a result. Many pupils demonstrate positive attitudes to their learning because of the high expectations that the school has of them.
Ofsted’s positive assessment of the actions taken has been welcomed by school leaders – who continue to work to deliver the additional improvements required.
Hannah Jones, Principal at Heathfield Community School, said:
“We are pleased the steps we have taken to address areas identified for improvement have been recognised and that inspectors have seen the impact that these are having.
“I would like to thank our leaders, teachers, learning support and professional services staff for the extremely focused and hard work that they have been and continue to be engaged with, as we work together to provide the best learning experiences possible for our young people.
“We are proud of the progress we have made, and are more determined than ever to continue apace on our journey of improvement.”