Witney's Wood Green School aiming to be out of special measures in months

The Oxford Times: Headteacher Rob Shadbolt Headteacher Rob Shadbolt

PLANS to bring a Witney secondary school out of special measures in seven months’ time are on track, its headteacher has said.

Wood Green School was rated inadequate by Ofsted in November last year, slipping from an outstanding result just three years previously, after GCSE results fell three years in a row.

Headteacher Rob Shadbolt said the school, which has 1,100 pupils, has been making improvements since the visit and he was hopeful the school could turn around its rating by the beginning of next year.

Ofsted made a monitoring visit at the school early last month and in a report published yesterday said it was making “reasonable progress”.

Mr Shadbolt said: “It was a very positive visit and the indication is that the progress is being made and the school is on track to be reinspected in January or February next year.

“I think this reflects the improvement the school is making.”

The report said: “[Teachers] are able to plan their teaching so that activities are set at the right level and put in place extra lessons for those students who are falling behind.

“As a result, more students in the current Year 11 are making reasonable progress in English and mathematics than those who completed their studies in 2013.”

Parent Joy Aitman was shocked when the school was put into special measures. Three of her children are still at the school, 17-year-old Jake, Grace, 16, and 14-year-old Duncan. Her oldest daughter Rosie, 19, is a former pupil.

Mrs Aitman, of Eton Close, Witney, said: “I was extremely surprised. It didn’t strike me as a school which needed to be in special measures. The school has been absolutely fantastic, I wouldn’t have sent all four of my children there if I didn’t think it was good.”

Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron, who met Mr Shadbolt at the end of last year, said yesterday: “I know that Rob and the staff are working hard towards making the improvements needed at Wood Green and I am reassured by the progress made so far.

“I remain on hand to support the school in whatever way I can as the local MP.”

The school’s GCSE results dropped from 62 per cent achieving five A*-C grades three years ago, to 52 per cent last summer.

Schools placed in special measures are encouraged by the Department for Education to become academies, but Mr Shadbolt said there were no definite plans at the moment to take that route.

He said: “No decisions have been made. It is an expectation that all schools in special measures become academies. Discussions are still ongoing but we will involve the community when there is something more concrete to share with them.”

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