Scrutiny Councillors commend progress at Bishop Vaughan School

The Schools Scrutiny Performance Panel commend the Headteacher, senior leadership team and school staff for the improvements made at the school since 2016 and look forward to seeing the school continue to improve from its now strong base.  Councillors were pleased to see the new strong leadership team taking the school forward and would particularly celebrate the use of the innovative thinking the school is using to solve challenges that it faces.

In March 2018 Scrutiny Councillors met with the Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher from Bishop Vaughan Catholic Secondary School.  They had chosen to speak to this school because it has been highlighted as Amber on the support and categorisation matrix.  Councillors wanted to discuss what the school is doing to improve its current performance and prospects for improvement.

The Headteacher outlined the context and answered a number of questions asked by the panel which covered, for example:

  • The support the school had received from the Local Authority, ERW and from other schools
  • The support for and training of new and aspiring school leaders and the need to include financial and human resource management in that package of learning
  • The work to improve pupil performance and outcomes at the school, the improvements made and areas that still require improvement
  • The schools innovative use of the pupil deprivation grant to improve pupil performance of the most vulnerable pupils
  • The ongoing work to manage down the financial deficit and the implications of future grant reductions.
  • Attendance and exclusions
  • The condition of some of the school buildings at the school and the need for some major maintenance or replacement of some aspects

Councillors concluded from the discussion that there is now a much improved picture at the school as compared to the 2016 and they felt that this is mainly due to:

  • The school now having a new and confident Headteacher and Senior Leadership Team that are proving to be creative and innovative in driving improvements at the school
  • Leaders at all levels in the school, and school staff, having worked together and responded well to the drive to improve pupil outcomes
  • The school having welcomed support and challenge from the Local Authority, the Challenge Advisor and assessing of school to school support
  • The school is working with the Challenge Advisor to develop its self-evaluation processes
  • A much improved financial situation at the school and clear plan to come out of deficit
  • The school has well considered plans in place to support pupils from vulnerable backgrounds. Using their Pupil Deprivation Grant, the school focuses on improving pupils’ outcomes in literacy and numeracy and breaking the link between disadvantage and educational attainment.  This has shown positive impacts in pupil performance for eFSM pupils.  This has been identified by Estyn as good practice and worthy of sharing with other schools.

Councillors did recognise that there are some areas of improvement still required and these are being addressed through the school continuing to seek ‘school to school’ support and assistance from the Challenge Advisor and subject specialists.

The Panel wish the school the very best for the future.


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