Five Islands School ‘Requires Improvement’ Says Ofsted

The Five Islands School

The Five Islands School

Ofsted has given Scilly’s Five Islands school its lowest assessment grading since the school was in special measures several years ago.

It has slipped from level 2, or ‘good’ to level 3, ‘requires improvement.’

Ofsted says parents seem happy with the standard of education and all pupils, including those with special educational needs, achieve results above the national average. Teaching staff impressed Ofsted, who said most teachers and assistants were good and some were outstanding, and they had high expectations of the pupils.

Pupils are set interesting work within an outstanding curriculum and their behaviour is outstanding, too. Students are motivated, and help each other, while bullying is not an issue and is dealt with effectively.

But the inspectors believe that the staffing changes surrounding the suspension and resignation of head teacher Bryce Wilby last May has unsettled the school and affected the school improvement rate.

The school is, “behind the game in some important respects,” says the Ofsted report.

They found more stability since the earlier autumn, visit. Some staff were positive about the acting head’s changes and morale has improved.

But Ofsted feels there isn’t enough emphasis on improving pupil performance, and Leadership and Management scored a 3 grade, requiring improvement.

Governors’ chairman Ben Julian says the report is fair and reflects their internal self-evaluation.

But Ben rejects suggestions that the current school leadership and management is not meeting Ofsted requirements. He says the earlier draft Ofsted report, produced immediately after the first visit and which was not released, found the leadership of the acting head teacher to be “outstanding” and governance to be “good and improving”.

He says Ofsted downgraded that to grade 3 following a request from the Department for Education to consider the entire period from the last inspection in 2010 to this summer.

Ofsted’s unexpected revisit just weeks after the initial inspection followed an investigation by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate, where they spoke in detail to staff and governors.

Ben argues that an Ofsted is supposed to consider the whole period since the previous inspection, not just a two-day snapshot.

Ofsted says the governing body could do better and governors need to link teachers’ pay to their performance.

The report says staff are overstretched and no one had the brief of overseeing teaching and learning for pupils in years 3 to 6. Ofsted wants that situation improved, along with teaching and learning for years 3 and 4 at St Mary’s.

Ben says the new head teacher will address this area as a matter of priority when he or she starts. Until then, the school leadership will be put into interim measures to support Key Stage 2 teaching.

Inspectors say the Council is now providing good support after what Ofsted calls “a hesitant start” and they welcomed the Town Hall’s offer to help in managing school finances.

But Ofsted want an external review of governance to assess how areas of leadership and management may be improved.

They feel that the governing body has not had time to develop the skills to have a clear impact on raising standards.

Ben points out that governors are volunteers and do their best to hold a school to account. The report recognises that they have already done much good work, he says.

School governors are there to support a head and ultimately hold them to account and Ben says they did that robustly last May.

Interviews for a new head teacher will take place next month and Ben doesn’t feel the reduced Ofsted grade will impact on recruitment. He says it can be tough to go into a good or outstanding school, as it can be a hard act to follow and feels the leadership and management issues outlined in the report are straightforward to put right.

Ofsted says the school will receive another full inspection within two years to assess whether required progress has been made.


12 Responses to Five Islands School ‘Requires Improvement’ Says Ofsted

  1. local February 10, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    and now the pitch is out of bounds due to what is thought to be “sewerage water” flooding the field.

    where did keir western and the council planning dept tie up their horses when they visited ?

  2. Pat Hicks January 31, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    All i can say is… I will be glad when this sorry saga is over with and where hopefully the councilors will learn by it all and will keep a closer eye on things in the future…
    And also hopefully they will keep working together to put these islands on a better path..

  3. Another local January 30, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    I’ve got to say, being in school at the time Brice Wilby taught, and also being one of the students to appoint him as head teacher, I can only say what a good job he had been doing. Do you think it it’s a coincidence that my 11 years in school, I had over 13 head teachers? I remember being in school when the Ofsted report was horrendous, and how we all tried to get it in top, but the problem remained then as it is now, how can you produce a great Ofsted report when there is no leadership? It was the same problem then, as it is now. Mr Wilby was a fantastic head teacher; majority of the students liked him, and unlike all the other heads we had, he was the only one to try and make an effort with every individual in our school. He wanted a bigger and brighter future for the school, and it’s funny that many teachers showed a vote for no confidence, but now they are backing up all his ideas? And to be completely honest, I think the school should separate from our local council, as I believe they are also holding he school and the pupils back from a range possibilities.

  4. Todd Stevens January 30, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    Hygates’ Legacy

  5. Mark Prebble January 29, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    A series of interesting observations from Local.

    How much money has been spent on the pathways so far?

    Has it come out of the school budget?

    One could speculate that an audit of the schools finances might show that the school and wider community has received poor value for money spent on the services and support provided by the council.

  6. local January 28, 2013 at 11:44 am

    what about the physical state of our so called state of the art school ?
    the drainage mainly: its shocking to put it mildly. an 8 year old could have told the builders that the water will run down hill through the school site and pool up next to and in the new field. i wonder how many consultants it took to try and work this out?
    the pitch is a disgrace and is still pretty much unusable.
    it isnt flat, it doesnt drain away (only to the footpath) and it isnt graded (like they said they did) as stones and gravel are finding their way to the surface.
    i have been told by my kids that the student body is raising money to buy paving slabs to resurface the gravel paths that the experts laid because they keep washing away ?? …really ?? a multi million pound school and the pupils are raising money to finish the job off?
    the so called safe access to school through old town well putting down a different coloured tarmac is really making it safe what an absolute joke ! it beggars believe that our highly paid council officers think this is satisfactory. its even falling apart now and has become uneven in places
    the path through the dump is nearly there but could these highly paid people please think about maybe joining up all the “bits” of path into a safe-even and most importantly dry and mud free path for the children to bike and walk to school so they dont come back home every day stinking of dump mud. (and dont blame the weather as all it needs is a continuation of the raised concrete path to the dump gate and at the other end to the tarmac path.

    slightly back on topic i hear through school that they are implimenting changes within the school now which brice suggested and became unpopular for it before he was ousted ..oh the irony !

  7. Nobby Nobbs January 27, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    I agree with Peonie.
    Robin, the reason the school got downgraded around leadership and management was not ‘because’ of Bryce Wilbey, but more to do with the method of his removal ie: The LEA (in other words the council) and the Governors, both of whom come in for some serious criticism.

    We know Bryce wasn’t popular with some of the staff, but then some of the staff where going to be down graded or shown the door, plus the off island school bases and Mundersley were probably going to be axed, so a lot of vested interest there wanting to put the boot in, so I would question the validity of the staff ‘vote of no confidence’ as you call it, for the above reasons.

    I hope the new head is as hard as nails because they’re going to have to be. Personally I think the school should be taken out of local governance and controlled from afar, that way decisions would be made in the long term interests of the school and not the staff.

  8. PJ January 27, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    The report has not yet been published by Ofsted and once again I assume, somebody in a ‘Leadership and Management ‘ role has decided to send the report out.
    There is usually an embargo on comment by schools and Governors before Ofsted publish on their site, but of course that is on the mainland.
    The school will now receive monitoring visits.
    If it manages to appoint a new Head – I wish them joy.
    A lot of schools in this category become Academies – just a thought.

  9. Badger January 27, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Glad to hear the school is doing so well, I’m sure things will start to pick back up once a new head is hired and everyone can settle back down! Great to hear about how well both staff and pupils are doing too

  10. peonie January 25, 2013 at 10:52 am

    first Park House, noiw the school, anytime any objective outsider looks at anything on the islands, the services are poor, and equally, just as quickly comes endless justification and rejection of any critism. Time to wake up.

  11. Robin January 25, 2013 at 10:04 am

    As a parent I received and read the report. It is highly complimentary of the school, staff and students:

    Achievement of pupils – Good
    Quality of teaching – Good
    Behaviour – Outstanding

    I’m not surprised that Leadership and Management requires improvement. The disasterous spell under Mr Wilby which ended in a huge vote of no confidence by the staff and his subsequent resignation can’t have helped! The current situation is of a staff confident in the current Leadership and puplis working hard. Well done to all who have tried so hard to achieve such good results.

    • Kev Wright January 27, 2013 at 9:13 am

      Robin, as a parent I see no evidence of any “disastrous” spell under My Wilby. The report included much research done since he resigned, so maybe the overall leadership now needs to improve? The report does not blame any problems on one particular person. It mentions that the children are doing great but that there have been problems with staff – I think it mentioned some of the lowers classes – and the leadership. Mr Wilby – whether he’s at fault or not – was not the only person with influence over these areas of the school. Plus he was barely given time to repair any potential teething problems that the new school structure (both physically and in personnel) may have had. There is barely any suggestions that the leadership problems have gone away, just that the staff are now more settled, something I feel is bound to happen after the new school was worn in. Yes some of them disagreed with Mr Wilby and some agreed. But the blame for some of the faults here were clearly not his and he should have been given time – as that was his role – to attend to such matters while the opportunity was there. If he was unable to do this then doubts about his ability would be a sensible outcome. The way it was handled was anything but sensible.