Leaders at Heathfield Community School near Taunton are working with Cabot Learning Foundation – an expert school improvement partner – to accelerate improvements following a recent ‘inadequate’ Ofsted report.
The latest inspection, which took place from 13– 14 March, reported a number of key issues around behaviour, attendance, quality of education and safeguarding.
In the report, inspectors recognised that the current Headteacher, seconded from Cabot Learning Foundation (CLF) since September 2022, and the Interim Executive Board (IEB) had identified areas requiring improvement and noted that steps were being taken to bring about significant change.
In a letter to parents, Headteacher Hannah Jones, and Chair of the Interim Executive Board, Gail Webb, wrote:
“Although we do not dispute the overall rating of ‘Inadequate’, we are of course disappointed that this is Ofsted’s judgement; it reinforces the need for the urgent improvements in line with the plans we already had in place. There is still a great deal of work to be done, which the Ofsted inspection has highlighted.”
Significant staff shortages and the quality of education on offer are being addressed with the recent appointment of Hannah Jones as the School’s permanent Headteacher, nine new staff and other leaders seconded from the CLF.
Five non-teaching pastoral leads have already been appointed and are focusing on ensuring each child is safe and that students’ behaviour is well managed. The Headteacher also introduced a new behaviour policy this term to address whole school safety and concerns raised about bullying between pupils.
Other developments include the School joining the CLF, an Academy Trust with a proven track record of securing sustainable improvement across a number of schools over the past decade.
Councillor Tessa Munt, Somerset Council’s Lead Member for Children, Families and Education, said:
“We understand this report will be incredibly concerning for parents and carers of Heathfield’s students, as well as the staff and students themselves.
Although Heathfield’s leaders and the Cabot Learning Federation had identified the School’s need to improve prior to the inspection, it is clear the pace of change must accelerate. The Interim Executive Board is working with the School’s leadership team to respond to this challenge urgently.”
Cabot Learning Federation CEO, Steve Taylor, said:
“We are very much looking forward to working more closely with the School and the community over the coming weeks. In addition to the initial secondment of our colleague, Hannah Jones, we had already anticipated providing further on-the-ground capacity in the summer term, as we explored together the possibility of the School joining our trust.
The secondment of additional leadership capacity from Easter has already allowed us to deepen the relationships we have been building with staff and families at the School. We are confident that with this leadership now in place, we will be able to accelerate action to address weaknesses identified by both Ofsted and the CLF.”
Parents and carers have been invited to online and in-person information sessions over the next week and are encouraged to take part in the survey sent to them by the School.
The full report has been sent to parents and will be published on the Ofsted website next week.