Atherton Free School gets 'good' Ofsted report rating

Atherton Free School principal Elizabeth Haddock

Atherton Free School principal Elizabeth Haddock

First published in News This Is Lancashire: Photograph of the Author by , education reporter

A NEW school — opened after a campaign by parents angry over the local authority’s controversial decision to axe Atherton’s only high school — is celebrating after education watchdogs judged it was “good”.

Atherton Community School opened in 2012 under the Government’s flagship free school programme, after Hesketh Fletcher School was shut under proposals put forward by Wigan Council.

The school, which opened in Atherton Town Hall, is now based in the extensively refurbished former Hesketh Fletcher school and also has a sixth form centre.

At its first inspection, Ofsted found children are eager to learn, teaching is good, with some being marked as outstanding, and pupils achieve well in English and mathematics “whatever their starting points”.

The report stated: “Inspectors say students are making good progress in almost all lessons observed.

“Very rapid progress was seen in some lessons.

“Teachers’ expectations of students’ learning in lessons are generally high. This supports good progress.”

It added: “Students’ good achievement results from effective teaching over time.”

Pupils were said to “show a pride in and a respect for their school” and the headteacher and the school leadership team were described as “highly effective”.

Inspectors stated: “They have rapidly established a successful school and supported its further growth and development on its new site this school year.

“The leadership of teaching and learning had led to improvement.”

Elizabeth Haddock, principal, added: “I’m so pleased that our school’s first Ofsted report has found our school to be good in every aspect; this is a true reflection of the hard work that staff, students and the community have contributed to setting the school up. This is a fantastic way to end the school year and I look forward to us building on this success year on year.”

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