Leaders at Pleckgate school taking ‘urgent and decisive’ action

This Is Lancashire: Cherry Ridgway Cherry Ridgway

INSPECTORS say leaders at a troubled high school are taking ‘urgent and decisive’ action.

After a monitoring inspection of Pleckgate High School, in Blackburn, Ofsted inspectors concluded a plan to improve is progressing well, and said concerns about low staff morale appeared to be resolved.

Acting headteacher Mark Bradshaw has received a letter from the inspectorate praising recent decisions, including four recent appointments.

The school was put into special measures in February when it was given the lowest grading possible. A chain of events saw headteacher Cherry Ridgway leave the school and the governors replaced by an interim board.

Ofsted remarked on problems with literacy standards and four new members of staff include an assistant headteacher with responsibilities to lead the English department, a new ‘lead’ English teacher and two learning practitioners for English and science.

Inspector Janet Palmer said: “A recently completed staff questionnaire indicates many of the concerns about low staff morale have been overcome. Staff understand and are on board with the changes needed to ensure Pleckgate becomes a good school.”

Following the monitoring visit, Ofsted judged the schools improvement plan, and the local authority’s plan fit for purpose.

Ms Palmer added: “Leaders have already undertaken a range of monitoring activities that are being used to help teachers understand how to improve their practice.

“The plan includes clear milestones and success criteria. Those responsible for undertaking and monitoring the actions are clearly identified.”

Ofsted also praised Blackburn with Darwen Council’s support: “The local authority’s statement of action is a well-considered interim document. The local authority is engaging with the school through high level monitoring.”

Comments (10)

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10:06pm Thu 3 Apr 14

mrcool says...

A bit late for all the students that are sitting their final exams in the next couple of months. They are the ones that have been fecked about for the last year or so by teachers in-fighting and subject matter being chopped and changed. Absolutely disgraceful.
A bit late for all the students that are sitting their final exams in the next couple of months. They are the ones that have been fecked about for the last year or so by teachers in-fighting and subject matter being chopped and changed. Absolutely disgraceful. mrcool
  • Score: 5

6:56am Fri 4 Apr 14

GiftHorse says...

mrcool wrote:
A bit late for all the students that are sitting their final exams in the next couple of months. They are the ones that have been fecked about for the last year or so by teachers in-fighting and subject matter being chopped and changed. Absolutely disgraceful.
I generally agree strongly with this message, but need to stress that there was no "in-fighting" between teachers at Pleckgate. The problems included bullying, intimidation and victimisation by the headteacher, assisted by her cronies (some of whom she brought along from her previous school in Blackpool). Please have a look at all the comments (which come after the other articles in the Lancashire Telegraph) to find out more about what was happening.
But you're definitely right that it is the pupils that suffered and especially the current Y11 who are now about to sit their exams. And this is inexcusable.
[quote][p][bold]mrcool[/bold] wrote: A bit late for all the students that are sitting their final exams in the next couple of months. They are the ones that have been fecked about for the last year or so by teachers in-fighting and subject matter being chopped and changed. Absolutely disgraceful.[/p][/quote]I generally agree strongly with this message, but need to stress that there was no "in-fighting" between teachers at Pleckgate. The problems included bullying, intimidation and victimisation by the headteacher, assisted by her cronies (some of whom she brought along from her previous school in Blackpool). Please have a look at all the comments (which come after the other articles in the Lancashire Telegraph) to find out more about what was happening. But you're definitely right that it is the pupils that suffered and especially the current Y11 who are now about to sit their exams. And this is inexcusable. GiftHorse
  • Score: 12

7:26am Fri 4 Apr 14

Pendle Bill says...

Very glad to read that the school has got itself back on track, due in large measure, I am sure, to the endeavours of the staff who work there. Ironic to read that BwD are praised by Ofsted, though. It's a bit like praising someone for rescuing you from a river when s/he is the one who pushed you in in the first place! And still no further statement about Ms Ridgway from BwD. Don't let this LEA smokescreen you, great Blackburn public! Keep up the pressure to learn the WHOLE truth of this sordid business.
Very glad to read that the school has got itself back on track, due in large measure, I am sure, to the endeavours of the staff who work there. Ironic to read that BwD are praised by Ofsted, though. It's a bit like praising someone for rescuing you from a river when s/he is the one who pushed you in in the first place! And still no further statement about Ms Ridgway from BwD. Don't let this LEA smokescreen you, great Blackburn public! Keep up the pressure to learn the WHOLE truth of this sordid business. Pendle Bill
  • Score: 13

8:23am Fri 4 Apr 14

Excluded again says...

The big downside of 'freeing schools from Council interference' (TM the last two UK governments). Council powers to intervene in schools have been stripped away so until there is a crisis there is little they can do except try to nudge and persuade. Doesn't sound like Ms Ridgeway was nudgeable or persuadable.

On a day to day basis its governors who have the power over the head. The lesson for Pleckgate and other parents here is to take very seriously who you elect as parent governors in the future.
The big downside of 'freeing schools from Council interference' (TM the last two UK governments). Council powers to intervene in schools have been stripped away so until there is a crisis there is little they can do except try to nudge and persuade. Doesn't sound like Ms Ridgeway was nudgeable or persuadable. On a day to day basis its governors who have the power over the head. The lesson for Pleckgate and other parents here is to take very seriously who you elect as parent governors in the future. Excluded again
  • Score: 8

9:07am Fri 4 Apr 14

Sue Lee says...

Apology, explanation? Cost in so many ways? Who wasn't doing their job as this catastrophe occurred ?
Apology, explanation? Cost in so many ways? Who wasn't doing their job as this catastrophe occurred ? Sue Lee
  • Score: 3

6:46pm Fri 4 Apr 14

salvadore says...

Before everyone thinks it's all hunky dory, I went to the post ofsted meeting with parents where the school presented their plans. The acting head gleefully told us that they're on for 50-55% 5 a-c passes. Which i challenged as it shows that according the school 1 in 2 kids will fail to achieve 5 a-c grades. This is the problem low aspiration by teachers for our pupils and are happy to allow half of them to fail. The acting head didn't even comprehend what he told us, it had to be pointed out. Sadly the same attitudes still continue in many of our secondary schools. Think about it 1 in 2 kids will fail at pleckgate yr11s this year. It really shows why the likes of tauheedul is so much better, high aspirations from all equates to 96% 5 a-c pass rates.
Before everyone thinks it's all hunky dory, I went to the post ofsted meeting with parents where the school presented their plans. The acting head gleefully told us that they're on for 50-55% 5 a-c passes. Which i challenged as it shows that according the school 1 in 2 kids will fail to achieve 5 a-c grades. This is the problem low aspiration by teachers for our pupils and are happy to allow half of them to fail. The acting head didn't even comprehend what he told us, it had to be pointed out. Sadly the same attitudes still continue in many of our secondary schools. Think about it 1 in 2 kids will fail at pleckgate yr11s this year. It really shows why the likes of tauheedul is so much better, high aspirations from all equates to 96% 5 a-c pass rates. salvadore
  • Score: -7

9:09pm Fri 4 Apr 14

Firstchild says...

There are some of the old loyal Pleckgate teachers who are giving more than 100% to help both the school and the children. They are even giving up part of their Easter holiday to give extra tuition to pupils and are clearly demonstrating their determination to haul the school back to its former high standards. It is a pity that some of the old Ridgway brigade are not coming on board and following the example that is being set but those who are giving their all deserve praise and support.
There are some of the old loyal Pleckgate teachers who are giving more than 100% to help both the school and the children. They are even giving up part of their Easter holiday to give extra tuition to pupils and are clearly demonstrating their determination to haul the school back to its former high standards. It is a pity that some of the old Ridgway brigade are not coming on board and following the example that is being set but those who are giving their all deserve praise and support. Firstchild
  • Score: 11

4:15pm Sat 5 Apr 14

Retired Teacher says...

salvadore wrote:
Before everyone thinks it's all hunky dory, I went to the post ofsted meeting with parents where the school presented their plans. The acting head gleefully told us that they're on for 50-55% 5 a-c passes. Which i challenged as it shows that according the school 1 in 2 kids will fail to achieve 5 a-c grades. This is the problem low aspiration by teachers for our pupils and are happy to allow half of them to fail. The acting head didn't even comprehend what he told us, it had to be pointed out. Sadly the same attitudes still continue in many of our secondary schools. Think about it 1 in 2 kids will fail at pleckgate yr11s this year. It really shows why the likes of tauheedul is so much better, high aspirations from all equates to 96% 5 a-c pass rates.
Salvadore, it is absolutely not as simple as you make out. You may as well say that everyone is capable of getting a University degree. The only way you can get 100% GCSE pass rate is for the exams to be so simple that they mean nothing. People who don't get 5 A*-C passes are not 'failures'. They may have all sorts of talents outside of GCSE subjects. Education is about pupils achieving the best they can in whatever area their talents lie. Exams are not the only measure of success. I would like to know about the abilities of the pupils who gained your 96% 5 A*-C passes.
[quote][p][bold]salvadore[/bold] wrote: Before everyone thinks it's all hunky dory, I went to the post ofsted meeting with parents where the school presented their plans. The acting head gleefully told us that they're on for 50-55% 5 a-c passes. Which i challenged as it shows that according the school 1 in 2 kids will fail to achieve 5 a-c grades. This is the problem low aspiration by teachers for our pupils and are happy to allow half of them to fail. The acting head didn't even comprehend what he told us, it had to be pointed out. Sadly the same attitudes still continue in many of our secondary schools. Think about it 1 in 2 kids will fail at pleckgate yr11s this year. It really shows why the likes of tauheedul is so much better, high aspirations from all equates to 96% 5 a-c pass rates.[/p][/quote]Salvadore, it is absolutely not as simple as you make out. You may as well say that everyone is capable of getting a University degree. The only way you can get 100% GCSE pass rate is for the exams to be so simple that they mean nothing. People who don't get 5 A*-C passes are not 'failures'. They may have all sorts of talents outside of GCSE subjects. Education is about pupils achieving the best they can in whatever area their talents lie. Exams are not the only measure of success. I would like to know about the abilities of the pupils who gained your 96% 5 A*-C passes. Retired Teacher
  • Score: 7

7:02am Sun 6 Apr 14

Pendle Bill says...

Retired Teacher wrote:
salvadore wrote:
Before everyone thinks it's all hunky dory, I went to the post ofsted meeting with parents where the school presented their plans. The acting head gleefully told us that they're on for 50-55% 5 a-c passes. Which i challenged as it shows that according the school 1 in 2 kids will fail to achieve 5 a-c grades. This is the problem low aspiration by teachers for our pupils and are happy to allow half of them to fail. The acting head didn't even comprehend what he told us, it had to be pointed out. Sadly the same attitudes still continue in many of our secondary schools. Think about it 1 in 2 kids will fail at pleckgate yr11s this year. It really shows why the likes of tauheedul is so much better, high aspirations from all equates to 96% 5 a-c pass rates.
Salvadore, it is absolutely not as simple as you make out. You may as well say that everyone is capable of getting a University degree. The only way you can get 100% GCSE pass rate is for the exams to be so simple that they mean nothing. People who don't get 5 A*-C passes are not 'failures'. They may have all sorts of talents outside of GCSE subjects. Education is about pupils achieving the best they can in whatever area their talents lie. Exams are not the only measure of success. I would like to know about the abilities of the pupils who gained your 96% 5 A*-C passes.
I'm in agreement with Retired Teacher. Salvadore perhaps needs to be reminded that Ofsted found Pleckgate to be "good, with outstanding features" during Mr Campbell's time as head teacher. It only slipped from that lofty perch with the advent of the last head teacher.
[quote][p][bold]Retired Teacher[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]salvadore[/bold] wrote: Before everyone thinks it's all hunky dory, I went to the post ofsted meeting with parents where the school presented their plans. The acting head gleefully told us that they're on for 50-55% 5 a-c passes. Which i challenged as it shows that according the school 1 in 2 kids will fail to achieve 5 a-c grades. This is the problem low aspiration by teachers for our pupils and are happy to allow half of them to fail. The acting head didn't even comprehend what he told us, it had to be pointed out. Sadly the same attitudes still continue in many of our secondary schools. Think about it 1 in 2 kids will fail at pleckgate yr11s this year. It really shows why the likes of tauheedul is so much better, high aspirations from all equates to 96% 5 a-c pass rates.[/p][/quote]Salvadore, it is absolutely not as simple as you make out. You may as well say that everyone is capable of getting a University degree. The only way you can get 100% GCSE pass rate is for the exams to be so simple that they mean nothing. People who don't get 5 A*-C passes are not 'failures'. They may have all sorts of talents outside of GCSE subjects. Education is about pupils achieving the best they can in whatever area their talents lie. Exams are not the only measure of success. I would like to know about the abilities of the pupils who gained your 96% 5 A*-C passes.[/p][/quote]I'm in agreement with Retired Teacher. Salvadore perhaps needs to be reminded that Ofsted found Pleckgate to be "good, with outstanding features" during Mr Campbell's time as head teacher. It only slipped from that lofty perch with the advent of the last head teacher. Pendle Bill
  • Score: 4

8:55am Sun 6 Apr 14

DGower says...

The monitoring visit states that the School has brokered support from a nearby Outstanding school which has put a strategic support plan in place. Does anyone know the details of this? The only Outstanding school that I know locally is Taheedul Girls.
The monitoring visit states that the School has brokered support from a nearby Outstanding school which has put a strategic support plan in place. Does anyone know the details of this? The only Outstanding school that I know locally is Taheedul Girls. DGower
  • Score: 1

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