Northampton school continues to be good, says Ofsted - but concerns raised about addressing ‘poor’ behaviour

An inspector found that some pupils do not report concerns - including sexual harrassment - because they feel “not listened to”

Thursday, 30th June 2022, 2:25 pm

A recent Ofsted inspection of a Northampton school found that it remains ‘good’ but a full inspection will be carried out in the near future after concerns were raised about addressing ‘poor’ behaviour.

Moulton School and Science College, situated in Pound Lane, was inspected by Ofsted on March 9 this year and inspectors found there has been no change to the school’s overall judgement as ‘good’ in a report published this week.

Headteacher Dr Angela Dabbs said: “This was an unusual inspection that took place over three days. We are, however, very pleased that there has been no change to the school’s overall judgement of ‘good.’ This is a very good result and provides the recognition that the new leadership team, governors, staff, parents, carers, and students have worked so hard to achieve together.

Moulton School and Science College in Pound Lane.

"Our pupils told Ofsted they were proud to belong to Team Moulton and, in many cases, made a point of seeking out Inspectors to tell them this. We know how important it is for our school community to have faith in the standard of education we deliver and we are delighted to have gained such a positive report which outlines the quality of provision we strive to deliver.”

The education watchdog said, however, that evidence gathered suggests the school may not have maintained their ‘good’ rating if a full inspection was carried out.

The biggest concern raised by an inspector was staff not implementing the school’s behaviour policy consistently.

Ofsted said: “Some pupils are concerned about bullying. When they report concerns, staff take them seriously. However, some pupils do not feel that the school’s approach to dealing with their concerns is always helpful.

“Some pupils do not feel listened to. They told inspectors that issues are not always resolved. Not all pupils are confident to report concerns about sexual harassment.”

The report added that leaders are beginning to address these issues by reviewing the school’s anti-bullying policy and practice.

Dr Dabbs said: “Children’s concerns are always taken seriously and thoroughly investigated. Sadly, over the last 18 months, we have noticed a big increase in the number of incidents of online ‘nastiness’ in various communications that a minority of pupils send to each other. The pastoral team works incredibly hard to try to ensure that all instances of bullying are dealt with carefully and empathetically.”

Ofsted commended leaders at Moulton School and Science college for their “clear vision” and being “ambitious” for their pupils’ success.

The report additionally praised the school’s changes to their “well developed” curriculum, which effectively builds on pupils’ prior knowledge, allows for sufficient time to be given to all subjects and has a clear focus on literacy as the key to overall improvement.

Teachers were found to demonstrate good subject knowledge, have good quality training and provide quality teaching to SEND pupils. Staff told inspectors they felt supported by leaders to manage their workload well.

Inspectors found that the college effectively addressed gaps in knowledge that resulted from the coronavirus pandemic by introducing tutoring programmes and tracking progress well.

Ofsted found that pupils benefit from extensive sports and arts opportunities as well as effective pastoral care and support - for example, the hub which provides a calm and safe area for vulnerable pupils.

Dr Dabbs continued: “On a personal note, I know just how far this school has come. When I took over as Headteacher in January 2020, all staff made a commitment to ensure continuous improvement and we have seen that drive and determination go from strength to strength despite all the barriers we have faced throughout Covid-19.

"Without doubt, it is the efforts and achievements of the entire school community that has made Moulton such a wonderful place to work and study. We are so pleased with our pupils' commitment to their futures and for ‘striving for great things.’

"We look forward to our next full inspection so we are able to showcase our provision fully.”

Suggested improvements for Moulton School and Science College include ensuring all subjects enable pupils to cover the curriculum in sufficient depth and breadth, applying the school’s behaviour policies consistently and ensuring staff know how to resolve concerns raised by students so they feel confident to report issues in the future.

The school’s last full inspection took place in 2013 when it was rated as ‘good.’ A subsequent short inspection in 2017 found that the school continued to be good.

When Ofsted judges a school to be ‘good’, the education watchdog normally carries out a Section 8 inspection every four years to confirm that the school remains good. Graded judgements are not given at these inspections.

If Ofsted, however, finds that a school would receive a higher or lower grade, the next inspection will be a full Section 5 inspection. This will be done within one or two years after the Section 8 inspection.