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“Special measures required” at Wrexham secondary school – however positivity over future “clear vision”

NOTE: This content is old - Published: Monday, Feb 19th, 2018.

A secondary school in Wrexham has been placed in special measures after a recent inspection found several key factors to be unsatisfactory and in urgent need of improvement.

Ysgol Bryn Alyn in Gwersyllt was inspected by Estyn, the Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales, in December 2017.

The findings of the inspection were published late last week, with a report noting that various elements of the school had been judged unsatisfactory and in need of urgent improvement.

As a result special measures are required in relation to the school, which will now have its progress monitored on a termly basis.

A summary of the inspector’s findings at the school states: “Ysgol Bryn Alyn has a supportive and caring ethos. Most pupils feel safe at school and many understand how to live healthy lifestyles. The majority of pupils are polite and courteous.”

However the report adds: “around half of pupils show little interest in lessons and the behaviour in lessons of a minority disrupts their learning and that of other pupils.”

This is expanded on later, with it noted: “In the last year, the number of recorded behaviour incidents has escalated and is high. The number of permanent exclusions is high as is the number of fixed-term exclusions. These increased significantly in the last year.”

“Around half of pupils show little interest in lessons. They lack ambition and enthusiasm for their learning and do not engage well in activities. These pupils are over-reliant on teachers, have very limited independent learning skills and lack resilience in their work. ”

“Many pupils enter the school with weak literacy and numeracy skills and a majority do not improve those skills well enough. Pupils’ performance at the end of key stage 4 is poor and generally pupils make much less progress from previous key stages than expected.

“Teaching is not effective and overall staff expectations of what pupils can do are too low. Furthermore, assessment does not improve pupils’ learning sufficiently.”

There is praise, with caveats, for example: “Most pupils feel safe at school and many believe that the school deals effectively with any concerns they have. Many pupils have a clear understanding of how to keep healthy through diet and exercise. However, the number of pupils that participate regularly in extra-curricular physical activities is low.”

There is positivity for the future of the school, with Estyn’s report later explaining: “Since taking over her present role in September 2017, the acting headteacher has developed a clear vision for the school based upon improved teaching and stronger pupil outcomes.

“With support from the senior leadership team, she has established more effective communication between the senior leadership team and the staff, and improved staff morale.”

Estyn have also put forward five recommendations to help make further improvements at Ysgol Bryn Alyn:

– Improve standards at key stage 4 and the progress that pupils make including the development of their skills
– Improve pupils’ attendance and behaviour
– Improve the quality of teaching and assessment so that pupils engage fully with their learning
– Strengthen leadership at all levels including the rigour and accuracy of self-evaluation and the precision of improvement planning
– Provide robust financial management to eliminate the deficit budget

Commenting on Estyn’s findings, Acting Headteacher Alison Kipping, said: “Having just taken over responsibility for the school we welcome the opportunity to work with our staff, pupils and parents to improve out outcomes to become the school we can all be proud of.

“There are areas that we must improve and I am pleased that the pupils and staff have made a positive start on implementing the necessary strategies.”

Cllr Phil Wynn, Lead Member for Education, added: “The inspection outcome for Ysgol Bryn Alyn is disappointing for the school community and the Council.

“Working in partnership with the school and GWE, our regional improvement service, the Education Department will provide support to the school to ensure a rapid improvement to the quality of education provided to the pupils.”

The full report can be found on this PDF.

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