The biggest school in Brighton and Hove requires improvement, according to inspectors from Ofsted.
The official watchdog said that Cardinal Newman Catholic School’s study programmes for 16 to 19-year-olds were good.
And figures published last week indicated that, in Brighton and Hove, only Dorothy Stringer pupils achieved better GCSE results.
But despite the good sixth form, Cardinal Newman was graded as “requires improvement” – the third highest of four possible grades – across other key areas. They were
- Effectiveness of leadership and management
- Quality of teaching, learning and assessment
- Personal development, behaviour and welfare
- Outcomes for pupils
The report – which is due to be published this week – says
- Some pupils do not make as much progress as they should, especially those who are disadvantaged.
- There are wide gaps between the results of most disadvantaged pupils and other pupils nationally.
- Teaching is not always challenging enough to inspire pupils to aim high. Some pupils find work too easy.
- Teachers do not have a clear set of minimum requirements for the standards they are to expect from pupils. Pupils’ work is often scruffy, incomplete or missing.
- There is too much low-level disruption in lessons and some poor behaviour. Not all staff, pupils or parents are confident that it is managed well.
- Some pupils are boisterous as they move around the campus.
- Governors do not always fulfil their statutory duties in a timely and effective manner.
- Disadvantaged pupils, disabled pupils and those with special educational needs do not all attend as well as they should.
- Leaders have acted decisively to address historic weaknesses in some aspects of management but the impact of this has yet to be seen consistently.
- Leaders have a strong moral purpose for the school and a clear vision of how they want it to develop. Not all teachers share this vision or consistently follow the lead.
A team of eight inspectors spent two days at the school on Wednesday 9 December and Thursday 10 December.
Among their recommendations are that the school “improve attendance and reduce truancy” and “close quickly the gaps between disadvantaged pupils and their peers and other pupils nationally”.
The report says: “An external review of governance is recommended.
“An external review of the use and impact of the pupil premium is also recommended.”
Ofsted said that the school had a number of strengths. They included
- The pastoral care afforded to vulnerable pupils enables them to make the most of their time in school.
- Learners following traditional A-level subjects attain results that compare favourably with other learners nationally and are broadly in line with expectations.
- Recent improvements to safeguarding arrangements, including to the perimeter security and staff training, mean that a large majority of pupils are safe at all times.
- The school’s clear Catholic ethos provides a helpful contribution to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of its pupils.
The school has 2,235 pupils. Of their parents and carers, 353 have taken part in a survey for Ofsted.
More than nine out of ten sad that their child was happy, safe and well looked after at Cardinal Newman.
Asked whether they would recommend the school to another parent, 89 per cent said yes.
Ofsted said that Cardinal Newman is larger than the average school and has an above average number of pupils from ethnic minorities.
The report said: “The proportion of pupils with English as an additional language is slightly above average and some of these are recent arrivals to the United Kingdom.
“The proportion of disabled pupils identified as requiring support is above average.”
However, the number of pupils eligible for free school meals is below average, as is the proportion of pupils with a statement of special educational needs or an education, health and care plan.
The head teacher James Kilmartin and the chair of governors Domenica Maxted wrote to parents about the report on Friday (22 January).
Dr Kilmartin and Mrs Maxted said: “While we were disappointed by the judgment and concerned by some aspects of the inspection process, we do see this as an opportunity to further improve the school.
“The report lays out some clear areas for improvement and we will now be creating and implementing a school improvement plan to ensure that we make rapid and sustainable progress.
“We will share this with you at the earliest opportunity.
“The staff and governors are united in their determination to make Cardinal Newman a truly great school.”
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