St Albans secondary school celebrates Ofsted grading turnaround in under three years

PUBLISHED: 12:00 27 July 2016

Nicky B celebrates

Nicky B celebrates


In less than three years, a St Albans secondary school has gone from being in special measures to being graded as good by Ofsted.

Nicky B celebratesNicky B celebrates

The news of its upward trajectory has been greeted with delight at Nicholas Breakspear School in Colney Heath Lane.

The Ofsted team who carried out the inspection last month graded the school as good in all five categories and gave the same ranking to its overall effectiveness.

It is a far cry from late in 2013 when the Catholic school was put in special measures and November 2014 when it was taken out special measures but was still said to need improvement.

The Ofsted team found that the leadership of headteacher Declan Linane had ensured that the school and the wider community worked well together and his direction had led to widespread improvements since the last inspection

Nicky B celebratesNicky B celebrates

Pupil outcomes were good with leaders ensuring an upward trend of improvement and attainment consistently above national averages at the end of Year 11.

Leadership both of subjects and of pupils’ pastoral care was found to be good and students made strong progress in humanities and modern languages because of good teaching and assessment practice.

Also singled out was the good progress students made in the sixth form and how the personal development and welfare of pupils was a strength of the school.

Parents have also rallied around, praising the communication they receive from the school, the management of students’ behaviour and the promotion of a happy environment in which their children learn.

Nicky B celebratesNicky B celebrates

The school was given several targets for improvements - the Ofsted team found that some pupils did not know enough about how well they were doing or what would help them improve their work, teachers in some subjects were not supporting pupils as well as they could to develop their literacy skills and the good practice in humanities and modern language was not being shared across the curriculum.

Mr Linnane, who became head in September 2014, expressed his delight that Nicholas Breakspear was now officially a good school.

He went on: “This report acknowledges the collaborative work between the students, parents, staff, governors and parishes to bring the perception of Nicholas Breakspear Catholic School closer to the reality.

“Not only are we one of the most improved schools in Hertfordshire, we have achieved this in record-breaking time. We are delighted as a community and we very proud in what we have achieved.”

Nicky B celebratesNicky B celebrates

He added: “The systems we have established over the past two years continue to have a greater impact and are enhancing the lives of students, parents and staff alike. It is a school which continues to have a positive and outward looking approach as we use the school’s vision to constantly strive for quality and excellence in all that we do.”

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