Northampton secondary school’s Ofsted rating improves from ‘requires improvement’ to ‘good’

The school was ranked as ‘good’ in all six inspected categories

By Carly Odell
Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 8:30 am

A Northampton secondary school which was previously rated as ‘requires improvement’ has been ranked as ‘good’ by Ofsted following a re-inspection.

The Duston School in Berrywood Road, Duston was subject to a monitoring inspection in June this year, which then turned into a full two-day inspection.

Schools watchdog, Ofsted, ranked the education setting - which is part of The Duston Education Trust - as ‘good’ in all six categories, including quality of education, behaviour and attitudes, personal development, leadership and management, early years provision and sixth form provision.

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The Duston School.

This is a step up on the school’s last full inspection in 2018 when it was ranked as ‘requires improvement’.

Inspectors in the Ofsted report said: “Pupils are kept safe. They know who to turn to if they have any concerns.

“Staff have high expectations of pupils’ behaviour. Pupils behave very well in lessons and during social times.

“Should bullying occur, staff deal with it quickly and effectively.

“Pupils are respectful. Staff and pupils develop trusting relationships because of the school’s clear expectations and values.

“The school is calm and orderly. Low-level disruption is not tolerated. This consistent approach to managing behaviour enables all pupils to focus on their learning.

“The curriculum and the many additional activities help pupils to become resilient, confident and independent.”

More than 100 lessons were visited during the inspection and groups of pupils, parents and staff were spoken to for their views on the school.

In his letter, Sam Strickland, headteacher, added: “I am hugely humbled and delighted by this massive achievement.

“This is testament to the relentless hard work of my leadership team, my staffing body, the extensive and frankly brilliant support offered to both me and the school by the governing body and trust, the attitudes of the children that attend the school and the support offered by the vast majority of parents.

“I truly hope that the community is proud of the school and what we have achieved.

“In spite of the challenges posed by the pandemic the school has continued to drive forwards and continued to improve.

“The sky high expectations that the staff have of the pupils are evident across the entire school and in all that we do.

There were also elements of the school which inspectors say need to improve including the special educational needs provision and overall attendance within the school.

Mr Strickland continued: “I also appreciate fully that the inspection report rightly identifies areas that we need to continue to work on, develop and improve.

“I would describe The Duston School as a restless school.

“We do not rest on our laurels and certainly are not arrogant enough to think that everything is perfect.

“We do, however, strive and endeavour to improve the school and make it better and better and better for the good of the children that we serve.

“It is by no means accidental that one of our mantras is Dream-Believe-Achieve.

“I continue to have an unrelenting dream and belief that The Duston School can only go from strength-to-strength as we move forwards.”

Ofsted inspections of ‘good’ schools usually take place approximately every four years.