William Parker deemed ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted inspectors

William Parker Sports College
William Parker Sports College

WILLIAM Parker Sports College has been placed in special measures after Ofsted inspectors found it to be failing in all key areas.

The secondary school for boys, in Parkstone Road, was judged as inadequate (Level 4) for achievement, quality of teaching, behaviour and safety, and leadership, in the report published this week, following an inspection in November last year.

The damning report states that the school needs to make improvements to the quality of teaching, including raising expectations of students’ attainments, and ensuring disabled students and those with special educational needs are supported adequately.

The proportion of students making the expected rate of progress from Key Stage Two to Key Stage Four, should be improved to be at least in line with national averages.

Problems with bullying and disruption in lessons must also be dealt with according to inspectors, and leadership and management need to be made more effective.

Headteacher John Court said: “We are very disappointed by the outcome of our recent inspection and the report which has been published this week. This disappointment is also felt by our governing body and the Diocese of Chichester.

“William Parker has made huge strides in performance over the last five years. 2011 was the best year’s results the college has ever achieved and William Parker was designated as the 58th most improved school in the country based on the progress made in that period.

“2012 was a disappointment, not least because of the grade boundary issues which are still to be resolved.

“However, the overall rise in performance was not seen by inspectors to be either sufficient or rapid enough.

“The report does not recognise the recent challenges the college has dealt with. There is also a growing problem in Hastings regarding the recruitment of experienced qualified teachers to sustain the highest quality teaching for all our young people.

“The report does praise the outcomes for Year 13 in our shared sixth form, Parkwood, and acknowledges that the governors and leadership team are making progress, if slower than expected because of issues of capacity, particularly in the core subjects of English, maths and science.”

The percentage of GCSE students gaining five A* to C grades at William Parker in 2012 was 35 per cent, down from 53 per cent in 2011, and the worst outcome since 2008.

The report also states: “The governing body is under no illusion about the many shortcomings in the school’s performance.

“It knows, for example, that the headteacher’s views of the school’s strengths and weaknesses ignore some clear signals of major concern, and that responses by senior staff are not effective.”

An Ofsted rating of level one is outstanding, level two is good, level three is satisfactory while level four is inadequate.

As a result of being categorised as inadequate and placed in special measures, William Parker will receive regular monitoring by Ofsted inspectors.

A spokesperson for East Sussex County Council said: “We are obviously disappointed with the outcome of this Ofsted inspection and recognise the concern it will cause for parents and the wider school community. As a matter of priority we are working extremely closely with the school to develop and put in place a robust improvement plan that will address the issues Ofsted have raised.

“We are completely committed to supporting the school to making these improvements swiftly.”

Hastings MP Amber Rudd said: “This is a devastating report for local families.

“I have asked for an urgent meeting with the local authority and the diocese to establish what urgent action and support is going to be taken to respond to this inspection.

“While other secondary schools, and the college are making dramatic improvements in Hastings in all areas, we cannot allow the once great William Parker School to fall so far behind.”

A parent of a William Parker student, who did not wish to be named, said: “I think the students’ behaviour is appalling and senior management seem to ignore that. The leadership is non-existent.”

However Sue Bower, of Nelson House Antiques, in High Street, whose two sons have attended the school disagrees with the findings of the report.

She said: “I cannot recognise the school from the Ofsted report. I have always found the teaching to be of a very high standard, the teachers very supportive.

“The extra-curricular activities are excellent, and the pastoral support is excellent.”

Mr Court said that a response to the Ofsted report would be aired at a parents’ meeting in the coming week, and added: “The designation that the College requires special measures means that all the necessary steps will be taken to ensure that the progress made is continued even more rapidly, and will amplify the need for external support in key areas.

“Whilst we must address the report as it stands, many staff, parents and governors are dismayed that this is not a true reflection of the quality of provision at William Parker.”