Sex harassment school is still a poor performer

20th October 2006 at 01:00
School inspectors have delivered another critical report on St Roch's Secondary in Glasgow, warning that it has still not demonstrated "the capacity to secure improvement".

The follow-through report on the school, published less than seven months after the initial damning report, notes that the school has "made a start"

in gaining the support and involvement of the school community.

However, inspectors are continuing to engage with the school and education authority to monitor progress. A second follow-through report will be published within the next year.

The school hit the headlines after an English teacher took the headteacher, Chris Nairn, to an employment tribunal, claiming sexual harrassment. Mary Robinson lost her claim of sex discrimination and victimisation, but the tribunal criticised the city council for allowing the case to go as far as it did. If an apology had been made by Mr Nairn over his "babe" remarks, and an acknowledgement given that his conduct was inappropriate, the proceedings might never have been initiated, the tribunal found in June last year.

In November 2005, HMIE carried out an inspection of the school. That report, published in March, graded it "good" in only three aspects, "adequate" in nine, "weak" in a further six, and "unsatisfactory" in one area (self-evaluation).

It praised the quality of teaching in some areas, but identified a number of concerns, including leadership. Others were pupil attainment in modern languages; quality, consistency and pace of pupils' learning; pupil support; celebration of pupils' achievements; promotion of racial equality; staff morale; and self-evaluation.

This latest report, based on a follow-up visit in June, found that although staff had shown an increasing desire to be actively involved in improvement activities, senior managers needed to take a more strategic and effective approach to the management of change.

It calls on Mr Nairn to review and modify his plan for continuous improvement, saying that his vision has not been fully shared and understood by senior managers and principal teachers.

Progress to address weaknesses in modern languages had been slow, while steps to improve the quality of support for pupils with English as an additional language had not yet had sufficient impact.

There were indications of improvement in communication between senior managers and staff and in partnership with parents, and newsletters and staff meetings were welcomed.

However, there had been little improvement in approaches to self-evaluation and changes made to the curriculum had not been well planned.

A spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council said: "We are pleased that the school was found to have made some progress in several important areas. The authority will continue to work very closely with St Roch's in addressing all the outstanding points for action."

"The HMIE visit for this interim report was in June - only three months after the initial report was published. Since then, significant work has been carried out by the school and there has been intervention by the education authority.

"The school has a revised action plan. Two new depute headteachers have been appointed. We expect that the next progress report will show that these measures are having a positive effect on the school's performance."

The new depute headteachers at St Roch's are Gerry McGuigan from St Andrew's Secondary in Glasgow, and Peter Holmes from St Andrew's High in Clydebank.

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