A SECONDARY school that was ‘outstanding’ when it was run by the local authority-run now ‘requires improvement’ as an academy.
Experts from Ofsted criticised the level of attainment by the students as well as the standard of teaching and leadership at Alperton Community School, in Stanley Avenue, Wembley.
The school achieved the best ‘outstanding’ rating in May 2011, when it was still a community school under the auspices of Brent Council.
It converted to an academy in September 2012 - a move opposed by members of the teaching unions - and then appointed a new headteacher Gerard McKenna in September 2013 along with a consultant deputy headteacher and two new assistant headteachers, and has fallen three grades to ‘requires improvement’ as a result of May’s inspection.
In a statement the school said: “The inspection was challenging, positive and fair, although many of the judgements in the report were based on the 2013 examination results.
“The new headteacher identified shortcomings in September 2013 and many changes have been initiated to address these areas, as acknowledged by Ofsted.
“The report emphasised the good behaviour of students, our high attendance, how we keep students safe and secure and ensure that discrimination of any kind is not tolerated.
“With the new headteacher and governor focus on academic achievement throughout the year, we anticipate there will be a great improvement in our GCSE results in 2014.”
The latest Ofsted report, published last Wednesday, said: “Not enough teaching is good or outstanding, especially in English.
“Teachers do not set challenging work in all subjects, particularly for the most able students.
“Teachers sometimes fail to check if students understand the work taught during lessons, which hinders their progress.”
They said some staff who are subject leaders do not have the skills to improve either pupils’ achievements or the quality of teaching and said school leaders do not precisely enough evaluate aspect of performance.
The only area to be given anything other than ‘requires improvement’ was the behaviour and safety of pupils, rated ‘good’, and the report said parents were very supportive of the school and would recommend it.
Ofsted’s four-strong inspection team said: “The headteacher is determined to improve students’ life chances by exposing students to a
range of experiences to broaden their social skills and improve their academic success.
“Since he has been in post, behaviour in the lower school has improved, exclusions have been reduced and students have become more punctual.”
Jean Roberts, a member of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers executive and a branch contact, said: “This is another example of the fact that becoming an academy does not mean everything will always be outstanding.
“But this is also a situation when we cannot trust Ofsted judgements as they are not a properly regulated body.
“Alperton has basically the same staff and the same intake of pupils as it had when it was judged ‘outstanding’.
“Whether either the ‘outstanding’ or ‘requires improvement’ were or are correct or somewhere in between, only those at the school know.”
Alperton Community School has 1,422 pupils with the Year 7 to 9s based at the lower site in Ealing Road and the Year 10 to 13 students on the upper site in Stanley Avenue.
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