Bury St Edmunds school rated ‘inadequate’ in controversial report continues to make improvements

Geoff Barton
Geoff Barton
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A Bury St Edmunds school which was rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted in a controversial report is continuing to make improvements, inspectors have ruled.

Following a monitoring inspection, the education watchdog said Hardwick Middle School, in Mayfield Road, is making ‘reasonable progress’ towards the removal of its ‘serious weaknesses’ designation.

Inspectors found that ‘teaching is improving’ with ‘evidence of accelerating progress’ amongst students in all year groups.

It is the second monitoring inspection since the school was rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted earlier this year - a grading that was challenged by executive headteacher Geoff Barton.

He felt the watchdog had focused ‘too much on historic results rather than the progress of current students’ but his complaint was not upheld.

The school is due to close next year as the majority of the town moves to two tier schooling.

Inspectors said headteacher Rachel Forward has ‘successfully raised the expectations of the teaching staff, who are now providing more challenge for students in lessons’.

They added: “Even though there is only a year left before the school closes, she is determined to drive through improvements in teaching that will accelerate the progress of students.”

However, they found that in some lessons students are ‘not always clear about why they are doing a task, what they are learning or what skills they are being asked to demonstrate’.

Mr Barton said: “The many positive comments in this monitoring report reinforce what so many parents have already been telling us - that Hardwick is a great school where children are safe, happy, challenged, and this year are making much better progress than in the past.”