Parents' relief as Ofsted listens

28th May 2004 at 01:00
Inspectors finally put school into special measures after a catalogue of complaints. Stephen Lucas reports

Parents who demanded inspectors put a secondary school into special measures less than a year after it opened in its new multi-million pound building have had their wishes granted.

The Office for Standards in Education said the quality of teaching, pupils' attitudes, behaviour and attendance, and management at Hull's pound;15 million Endeavour school were poor.

Around 20 parents had asked Ofsted to place the 1,200-pupil school in special measures. They said too many teachers were unqualified, some lost coursework and one, who is no longer at the school, told pupils to cheat in a mock GCSE exam.

During the inspection in March, parents accused the school of trying to dupe inspectors by sending nine "disaffected" pupils to a local college and by bringing in four teachers from other schools. Endeavour denied the claim.

Kevin Beaton, the headteacher brought in to turn the school around after the previous head David Throp resigned in February, said: "This school deserves to go into special measures. But we did not need an official report to tell us that. We could have told Ofsted what was wrong and they could have saved themselves pound;40,000."

But parents welcomed the inspectors' decision. Phil Edwards, 47, and Paula Dorkin, 36, both have 16-year-old daughters taking GCSEs at the school.

Mr Edwards said: "It is definitely the right decision. It is too late for the Year 11s, and it may well be too late for the Year 10s, but hopefully it will help the Year 7s and 8s."

Ms Dorkin said: "I wish they could have pulled their socks up two years ago."

Mr Beaton, the head of nearby Kingswood high, was drafted in by the education authority with two of his senior managers, just a month before the inspection. He said Ofsted's criticisms were already being addressed and inspectors said signs of better management were evident.

New vocational qualifications are being introduced in September, he said, and teaching should improve because 14 of the 17 vacant teaching posts have been filled.

Inspectors said the curriculum needed to be better matched to students' needs, though provision in English, PE and engineering was good.

Last Saturday, 37 of Endeavour's 63 teachers met to work on an action plan to save the school.

Daren Hale, chair of governors, said: "We have filled most of the job vacancies. It shows people want to work here."

Helen McMullen, Hull's chief education officer, said: "While the report is disappointing it is not a surprise. It said management and teaching in some areas were good so there is something to build on."

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