Head leaves school after Government inspectors' visit
PUBLISHED: 10:34 08 January 2009 | UPDATED: 13:51 06 May 2010
AN OFSTED report highlighting the decline in a secondary school s success has been revealed within weeks of its headteacher s departure. After four years as head of Verulam School in St Albans, David Kellaway took early retirement at the end of last term
AN OFSTED report highlighting the decline in a secondary school's success has been revealed within weeks of its headteacher's departure.
After four years as head of Verulam School in St Albans, David Kellaway took early retirement at the end of last term and deputy headteacher Paul Ramsey has taken over while the position is filled. A new deputy head has also been appointed.
A letter was sent out to parents advising them of Mr Kellaway's departure on the final day of the last term, which came within weeks of the Ofsted inspection.
In the subsequent report the boys' school was given a "satisfactory" grading by inspectors compared to a "good" grading in 2006 when the last inspection took place.
Although the exam results of the students are above average, Ofsted inspectors said progress was only satisfactory because the majority of them entered the school with an above-average ability.
The report said that the majority of classes were taught well but that too many lessons consisted of teachers presenting information rather than allowing students time for discussion and reflection.
Inspectors noted very good standards in English but said that grades should be raised to the same level in maths. Progress in IT, geography and history was also disappointing.
The report read: "This inconsistency in performance across the school is an important reason why overall progress is only satisfactory. It is also why, although it met its challenging targets in technology this year, the school did not meet its other targets."
Further criticisms in leadership were raised in the report and it noted that some parents had expressed concerns in that area.
Inspectors wrote: "The quality of leadership and management is sufficient to enable students satisfactory progress in their academic work and personal development. The whole school self-evaluation, undertaken by the headteacher in consultation with his senior team is just satisfactory. While it recognises most of the school's main strengths and weaknesses, it is not sharp enough to improve the school from its current state."
They added: "Key to future improvement is ensuring that the school's senior leadership provides clearer vision and ambition to move the school beyond satisfactory performance."
The inspectors did however commend some good leadership in middle management and in some subject departments.
Ofsted commended the way students socialised with each other and adults and it praised the range of extra-curricular activities along with pupils' awareness of healthy living.
Acting head, Mr Ramsey, said he was confident that the school could make the necessary improvements extremely rapidly.
He said: "I think there is a very wide range of factors which caused the decline to satisfactory, quite complex ones really. What we are looking to do is be more consistent and raise standards across the board."
He added: "All the staff and governors are really determined to work in partnership with pupils and parents to raise standards so that Verulam can progress to become outstanding."
Chair of governors Simon Gwynn said: "Mr Kellaway's time at Verulam has been characterised by a personal commitment to the education of our students. I am grateful to him for the positive changes he has made to the school that help our students develop as well-rounded learners.