Blackburn's Pleckgate High School 'positive' after Ofsted blow

Pleckgate High School

Pleckgate High School

First published in News

AN ACTING headteacher has reassured parents that there is a ‘positive atmosphere’ at a troubled school.

Mark Bradshaw has taken over the reins at Blackburn’s Pleckgate High School after the decision of head Cherry Ridgway to take extended personal leave.

Ms Ridgway’s departure came after Ofsted gave the school its lowest rating of Inadequate, placing it in special measures.

Mr Bradshaw has been a teacher for 23 years, with the last seven at Pleckgate. His role at the school began firstly as assistant head and he was appointed deputy head in 2009.

He said: “There seems to be a positive atmosphere and everyone is committed to moving the school forward.

“We were disappointed with the outcome of the Ofsted report. However we are, and were prior to the report, aware of the areas that need improvement and what we need to do. We have got to make sure everything we do is in the best possible interests of the students and that they are in a safe and happy environment.

"It is very clear that, although there have been problems recently, as a school we are a strong community . We are pulling together and are working our hardest to ensure the students get the best possible education provision and chances that they can.

“Ultimately it is about them and about us all working together to move the school forward. We need to make sure that parents know what we are about and where we want to go. We need to involve them and take them with us on the journey. It is about all of us going in the same direction.”

An interim executive board has also replaced the school’s former governing body. Although the Ofsted report highlighted serious weaknesses, Mr Bradshaw stressed the school also had a lot of strengths.

Comments (12)

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6:24pm Thu 6 Mar 14

voice of reason10 says...

Fantastic news...I am so pleased for the students, parents, staff and governors that the recent disastrous appointment of Ms Ridgeway has come to an end and that things are returning to normal.
I hear that the malicious accusations against certain staff have proved to have been part of her dictatorial management style and are finally coming to an end.
Pleckgate is an integral part of Blackburn's education system, truly a place where pupils are taught to Learn, Enjoy and Succeed and I hope that with some time and space, and with the support of the staff, Mr Bradshaw can draw a line under what has happened and get the school back on track.
I also hope that the bullying management style that Ms Ridgeway brought with her from Lytham St Annes High School and Collegiate High School is not repeated by some of the people she 'promoted' or 'appointed' from Collegiate.

Finally, I hope that the LA sits up and takes some responsibility for this mess...so far it hasn't apologised for anything - yet it should, it failed in the internal examination to hold Ms Ridgeway to task - despite overwhelming evidence of her bullying and mistreatment of staff and pupils, and it brushed many years of experienced teacher's comments aside. It failed to look at the reputational risk this woman posed and failed the staff and pupils at a time when they needed them most.

Good luck, Pleckgate.
Fantastic news...I am so pleased for the students, parents, staff and governors that the recent disastrous appointment of Ms Ridgeway has come to an end and that things are returning to normal. I hear that the malicious accusations against certain staff have proved to have been part of her dictatorial management style and are finally coming to an end. Pleckgate is an integral part of Blackburn's education system, truly a place where pupils are taught to Learn, Enjoy and Succeed and I hope that with some time and space, and with the support of the staff, Mr Bradshaw can draw a line under what has happened and get the school back on track. I also hope that the bullying management style that Ms Ridgeway brought with her from Lytham St Annes High School and Collegiate High School is not repeated by some of the people she 'promoted' or 'appointed' from Collegiate. Finally, I hope that the LA sits up and takes some responsibility for this mess...so far it hasn't apologised for anything - yet it should, it failed in the internal examination to hold Ms Ridgeway to task - despite overwhelming evidence of her bullying and mistreatment of staff and pupils, and it brushed many years of experienced teacher's comments aside. It failed to look at the reputational risk this woman posed and failed the staff and pupils at a time when they needed them most. Good luck, Pleckgate. voice of reason10
  • Score: 34

6:08am Fri 7 Mar 14

Sue Lee says...

So are WE paying for 2 headteachers at the moment and 2 suspended deputies? How much staff time have WE paid for in staff suspended, staff off sick, supply substitutes in the cover for these? How many hundreds of thousands?
Who appointed these people? When will who apologise and explain? This silence has made Pleckgate the talking point at many social venues across the town.
Does the MP, the Counci Leader/aspiring MP, Mr Harling or Caterall not want to demonstrate any leadership or responsibility by engaging with us?
They seem keen to talk about similar shambles in Darwen Vale.
So are WE paying for 2 headteachers at the moment and 2 suspended deputies? How much staff time have WE paid for in staff suspended, staff off sick, supply substitutes in the cover for these? How many hundreds of thousands? Who appointed these people? When will who apologise and explain? This silence has made Pleckgate the talking point at many social venues across the town. Does the MP, the Counci Leader/aspiring MP, Mr Harling or Caterall not want to demonstrate any leadership or responsibility by engaging with us? They seem keen to talk about similar shambles in Darwen Vale. Sue Lee
  • Score: 17

10:22am Fri 7 Mar 14

saraharrowsmith says...

What nonsense above. Anyone with an inside knowledge of the staff room knows there is a lot to this that can't be reported. My best friend is a teacher in the school and has opted not to take sides with the now suspended head or the factions within the school. I'll tell you what she has suffered in the last week - whispering campaigns from nasty staff members who should know better - is this the actions of people who we entrust our children with? She is highly stressed and in tears most nights because unlike some who are there she actually went into teaching to teach not to build mini empires. The new governing body are powerless in this because the factions that were as much to blame are still there. It is high time the Telegraph started doing its job and looked at exactly what is going on in the school and stopped taking sides. Michael Gove is right when he says academies with new staffing structures are the only way to tackle 'vested interests'.
What nonsense above. Anyone with an inside knowledge of the staff room knows there is a lot to this that can't be reported. My best friend is a teacher in the school and has opted not to take sides with the now suspended head or the factions within the school. I'll tell you what she has suffered in the last week - whispering campaigns from nasty staff members who should know better - is this the actions of people who we entrust our children with? She is highly stressed and in tears most nights because unlike some who are there she actually went into teaching to teach not to build mini empires. The new governing body are powerless in this because the factions that were as much to blame are still there. It is high time the Telegraph started doing its job and looked at exactly what is going on in the school and stopped taking sides. Michael Gove is right when he says academies with new staffing structures are the only way to tackle 'vested interests'. saraharrowsmith
  • Score: -33

10:22am Fri 7 Mar 14

saraharrowsmith says...

My best friend is a teacher in the school and has opted not to take sides with the now suspended head or the factions within the school. I'll tell you what she has suffered in the last week - whispering campaigns from nasty staff members who should know better - is this the actions of people who we entrust our children with? She is highly stressed and in tears most nights because unlike some who are there she actually went into teaching to teach not to build mini empires. The new governing body are powerless in this because the factions that were as much to blame are still there. It is high time the Telegraph started doing its job and looked at exactly what is going on in the school and stopped taking sides. Michael Gove is right when he says academies with new staffing structures are the only way to tackle 'vested interests'.
My best friend is a teacher in the school and has opted not to take sides with the now suspended head or the factions within the school. I'll tell you what she has suffered in the last week - whispering campaigns from nasty staff members who should know better - is this the actions of people who we entrust our children with? She is highly stressed and in tears most nights because unlike some who are there she actually went into teaching to teach not to build mini empires. The new governing body are powerless in this because the factions that were as much to blame are still there. It is high time the Telegraph started doing its job and looked at exactly what is going on in the school and stopped taking sides. Michael Gove is right when he says academies with new staffing structures are the only way to tackle 'vested interests'. saraharrowsmith
  • Score: -35

7:43pm Fri 7 Mar 14

Renny78 says...

The vested interests you speak of were planted into the school 16 months ago with the appointment of cherry ridgway - and subsequent cronies from her previous intentionally damaged schools, Lytham and collegiate - our school was functioning pretty well until the appointment of the afore mentioned individual - if your friend thinks otherwise perhaps she is in the wrong job. The only overarching and overwhelming ethos within pleckgate has been to support children in achieving to the best of their ability and in helping them on their journey as well rounded citizens. Ridgway gave not a thought to the welfare of the pupils or staff and made no bones about it. If you were in her select few and prepared to stab anyone she wanted in the back you were she and if not watch out! The strong staff support structure now needs time to be rebuilt - those who have supported the downfall of their fellow colleagues for little or no reason should have no place there. They are now a minority without her malignant, misguided direction. Unfortunately she has succeeded in dragging them down 2 full ofsted grades and now the staff will have to pay further heavy cost of working together to get themselves back to strength - I think the petition of 1500 pupils parents ex and current staff really spoke volumes about the strength of commitment there is to make pleckgate a success once more. Apologies for what the staff have been made to endure from the local authority and unions are now painfully overdue...
The vested interests you speak of were planted into the school 16 months ago with the appointment of cherry ridgway - and subsequent cronies from her previous intentionally damaged schools, Lytham and collegiate - our school was functioning pretty well until the appointment of the afore mentioned individual - if your friend thinks otherwise perhaps she is in the wrong job. The only overarching and overwhelming ethos within pleckgate has been to support children in achieving to the best of their ability and in helping them on their journey as well rounded citizens. Ridgway gave not a thought to the welfare of the pupils or staff and made no bones about it. If you were in her select few and prepared to stab anyone she wanted in the back you were she and if not watch out! The strong staff support structure now needs time to be rebuilt - those who have supported the downfall of their fellow colleagues for little or no reason should have no place there. They are now a minority without her malignant, misguided direction. Unfortunately she has succeeded in dragging them down 2 full ofsted grades and now the staff will have to pay further heavy cost of working together to get themselves back to strength - I think the petition of 1500 pupils parents ex and current staff really spoke volumes about the strength of commitment there is to make pleckgate a success once more. Apologies for what the staff have been made to endure from the local authority and unions are now painfully overdue... Renny78
  • Score: 16

10:02pm Fri 7 Mar 14

adamdesk says...

some people who got places at Pleckgate discriminated other good schools
NOW look at the outcome madamji

Pleckgate school the lowest
some people who got places at Pleckgate discriminated other good schools NOW look at the outcome madamji Pleckgate school the lowest adamdesk
  • Score: -20

11:05pm Fri 7 Mar 14

Perspexhood says...

adamdesk wrote:
some people who got places at Pleckgate discriminated other good schools NOW look at the outcome madamji Pleckgate school the lowest
???????? what does this mean?
[quote][p][bold]adamdesk[/bold] wrote: some people who got places at Pleckgate discriminated other good schools NOW look at the outcome madamji Pleckgate school the lowest[/p][/quote]???????? what does this mean? Perspexhood
  • Score: 2

7:41am Sat 8 Mar 14

Pendle Bill says...

Good to hear of the confidence from within Pleckgate despite all. But what about the "desaparecidos"? Mr Murray? Mr Ford? Mr Neilson? I am sure that BwD would like everyone to go quiet on this front, people. So, DON'T DO IT! Keep asking the questions: badgering the powers that be, the politicians, everyone involved. This community deserves answers, not to mention apologies. Do not fail this school, and these valued staff members, now!
Good to hear of the confidence from within Pleckgate despite all. But what about the "desaparecidos"? Mr Murray? Mr Ford? Mr Neilson? I am sure that BwD would like everyone to go quiet on this front, people. So, DON'T DO IT! Keep asking the questions: badgering the powers that be, the politicians, everyone involved. This community deserves answers, not to mention apologies. Do not fail this school, and these valued staff members, now! Pendle Bill
  • Score: 10

2:04pm Sat 8 Mar 14

Perspexhood says...

Do not fail any of our community schools. Funny what you hear in the pub on a Friday night. Seems Pleckgate and St Wilfs got interesting times. And whats that about Witton? Anyone know any more?
Do not fail any of our community schools. Funny what you hear in the pub on a Friday night. Seems Pleckgate and St Wilfs got interesting times. And whats that about Witton? Anyone know any more? Perspexhood
  • Score: -24

8:45pm Sat 8 Mar 14

Renny78 says...

Hmmm...'perspexhood' pray tell? Are we perhaps referring to an invasion by a prominent academy chain in bburn perhaps here? Something distinctly fishy is afoot with bwd education whereby good, long-standing schools such as Pleckgate are being sponsored to dramatic downfalls - who will swoop in to pick up the pieces I wonder... Unsure whether you are aware of previous 5 or 6 articles running on pleckgate since feb and the petition on change.org that 1500 people signed to call for 'head teacher'' cherry ridgeway to be investigated - she then took extended absence 13.2 - in all probability with a generous payout... Tens of teachers pushed from their careers, bullying and mismanagement on an enormous scale rife - fixed investigation following staff invoking whistle blowing policy and vote of no confidence in her leadership capacity and whistleblowers names then disclosed so they could be bullied further to the edge - no union representation to speak of - still no form of apology that this was allowed to happen despite enormous cost to the well being of hardworking staff and pupils - teachers still ill and scared for their careers - if you know more then please say as this saga runs a lot deeper than you know...
Hmmm...'perspexhood' pray tell? Are we perhaps referring to an invasion by a prominent academy chain in bburn perhaps here? Something distinctly fishy is afoot with bwd education whereby good, long-standing schools such as Pleckgate are being sponsored to dramatic downfalls - who will swoop in to pick up the pieces I wonder... Unsure whether you are aware of previous 5 or 6 articles running on pleckgate since feb and the petition on change.org that 1500 people signed to call for 'head teacher'' cherry ridgeway to be investigated - she then took extended absence 13.2 - in all probability with a generous payout... Tens of teachers pushed from their careers, bullying and mismanagement on an enormous scale rife - fixed investigation following staff invoking whistle blowing policy and vote of no confidence in her leadership capacity and whistleblowers names then disclosed so they could be bullied further to the edge - no union representation to speak of - still no form of apology that this was allowed to happen despite enormous cost to the well being of hardworking staff and pupils - teachers still ill and scared for their careers - if you know more then please say as this saga runs a lot deeper than you know... Renny78
  • Score: 12

8:56pm Sat 8 Mar 14

Pendle Bill says...

Renny78 wrote:
Hmmm...'perspexhood' pray tell? Are we perhaps referring to an invasion by a prominent academy chain in bburn perhaps here? Something distinctly fishy is afoot with bwd education whereby good, long-standing schools such as Pleckgate are being sponsored to dramatic downfalls - who will swoop in to pick up the pieces I wonder... Unsure whether you are aware of previous 5 or 6 articles running on pleckgate since feb and the petition on change.org that 1500 people signed to call for 'head teacher'' cherry ridgeway to be investigated - she then took extended absence 13.2 - in all probability with a generous payout... Tens of teachers pushed from their careers, bullying and mismanagement on an enormous scale rife - fixed investigation following staff invoking whistle blowing policy and vote of no confidence in her leadership capacity and whistleblowers names then disclosed so they could be bullied further to the edge - no union representation to speak of - still no form of apology that this was allowed to happen despite enormous cost to the well being of hardworking staff and pupils - teachers still ill and scared for their careers - if you know more then please say as this saga runs a lot deeper than you know...
Which is why those involved, and those who care about the school and its staff, should stand up and be counted. There appears to be ample evidence that BwD is at best an incompetent authority and maybe even a corrupt one. The people of Blackburn ought to be up in arms about all this, demanding a public enquiry to be conducted by an independent authority........I would trust an internal BwD inquiry about as much as I would trust a concrete parachute! So come on, people! Let's get ORGANISED!
[quote][p][bold]Renny78[/bold] wrote: Hmmm...'perspexhood' pray tell? Are we perhaps referring to an invasion by a prominent academy chain in bburn perhaps here? Something distinctly fishy is afoot with bwd education whereby good, long-standing schools such as Pleckgate are being sponsored to dramatic downfalls - who will swoop in to pick up the pieces I wonder... Unsure whether you are aware of previous 5 or 6 articles running on pleckgate since feb and the petition on change.org that 1500 people signed to call for 'head teacher'' cherry ridgeway to be investigated - she then took extended absence 13.2 - in all probability with a generous payout... Tens of teachers pushed from their careers, bullying and mismanagement on an enormous scale rife - fixed investigation following staff invoking whistle blowing policy and vote of no confidence in her leadership capacity and whistleblowers names then disclosed so they could be bullied further to the edge - no union representation to speak of - still no form of apology that this was allowed to happen despite enormous cost to the well being of hardworking staff and pupils - teachers still ill and scared for their careers - if you know more then please say as this saga runs a lot deeper than you know...[/p][/quote]Which is why those involved, and those who care about the school and its staff, should stand up and be counted. There appears to be ample evidence that BwD is at best an incompetent authority and maybe even a corrupt one. The people of Blackburn ought to be up in arms about all this, demanding a public enquiry to be conducted by an independent authority........I would trust an internal BwD inquiry about as much as I would trust a concrete parachute! So come on, people! Let's get ORGANISED! Pendle Bill
  • Score: 8

1:32pm Sun 9 Mar 14

BlackburnEyes says...

I can assure you all that Tauheedul will never take over or allowed to take over Pleckgate high and they will never have a "monopoly" on Schools in Blackburn not all Muslim parents in Blackburn like the idea of faith schools weird as it may sound there is a time and place for faith and its not at a High School especially Pleckgate...kids need to be able to freely learn and express without the need of ANY religious connotations, ideologies or teaching methods which is the overall appeal of Pleckgate anyway...you dont need faith in schools when we are able to define right from wrong we are still human.... We just want Pleckgate to return to its previous status prior to when the demon arrived....it does not help to pay attention to rumours and heresay regarding the furture especially when teachers have endless calls upon their time. Apologies will come in time and if unions take notice when teachers leave the union and create their own! The staff should take pleasure that there is support in all parts of the community for this school and has and will always enjoy fortified support we know what the teachers have sacrified to create successful individuals I urge the teachers and staff to prove BwD wrong and if this mass academy conversion looms over pleckgate I will get involved to preserve and if necessary form a consortium to "take-over" to preserve Pleckgate's ethos and impartiality! Go forth Teach, Enjoy, Suceed, Savour, take pleasure ;)
I can assure you all that Tauheedul will never take over or allowed to take over Pleckgate high and they will never have a "monopoly" on Schools in Blackburn not all Muslim parents in Blackburn like the idea of faith schools weird as it may sound there is a time and place for faith and its not at a High School especially Pleckgate...kids need to be able to freely learn and express without the need of ANY religious connotations, ideologies or teaching methods which is the overall appeal of Pleckgate anyway...you dont need faith in schools when we are able to define right from wrong we are still human.... We just want Pleckgate to return to its previous status prior to when the demon arrived....it does not help to pay attention to rumours and heresay regarding the furture especially when teachers have endless calls upon their time. Apologies will come in time and if unions take notice when teachers leave the union and create their own! The staff should take pleasure that there is support in all parts of the community for this school and has and will always enjoy fortified support we know what the teachers have sacrified to create successful individuals I urge the teachers and staff to prove BwD wrong and if this mass academy conversion looms over pleckgate I will get involved to preserve and if necessary form a consortium to "take-over" to preserve Pleckgate's ethos and impartiality! Go forth Teach, Enjoy, Suceed, Savour, take pleasure ;) BlackburnEyes
  • Score: 60

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