Mountjoy on the road to recovery after Ofsted setback

DELIGHTED: Mountjoy School in Beaminster

DELIGHTED: Mountjoy School in Beaminster

First published in News Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Photograph of the Author by

MOUNTJOY Special School is on the road to recovery after being labelled a school that needed improvement by Ofsted in October last year.

Ofsted Inspector Mark Lindfield has returned to see what progress has been made and says leaders and governors are taking effective action to improve.

He said the school’s leaders have been quick to make changes and take the school in a new direction.

But he says there is more to be done.

Headteacher Lesley Cook said: “Mr Lindfield seems very pleased with all that is going on.

“We are delighted with the progress we have made. All the staff and senior leadership have worked really hard focussing on the areas Ofsted has mentioned.

“The parents are pleased and the children are getting a really good quality education.

“We have all worked very hard and will continue to work hard and continue to deliver a good education for our pupils.” Mr Lindfield said the school still needed to increase the level of challenge and support from the governing body, use pupils’ progress to monitor the effectiveness of the school’s actions and make sure lesson plans match the needs of all its pupils, especially the more able ones.

He said: “With senior leaders, the new acting headteacher has quickly brought a renewed sense of direction to the school.

“A more purposeful and decisive leadership has resulted in revised procedures that have a sharper focus on raising pupils’ achievement. Senior leaders have quickly set annual performance targets for staff to increase pupils’ progress.”

He also praised Dorset County Council for stepping in quickly to provide leadership after the former long-standing head James Franzen left last year.

He said: “Senior leaders have now set a clear direction and are working closely to improve the school’s performance.”

Mark Loveys, Dorset County Council’s head of learning and school improvement, said: “We are pleased with the progress of the school and their hard work has been reflected in this inspection report. We will continue to provide support to ensure the success of the improvement plan.”

Last year Ofsted said the new Mountjoy School in Beaminster required improvement – having been rated outstanding just two years before.

Although the Ofsted inspection praised the pupils' achievements, the good quality of the teaching and students' behaviour, it criticised leadership and management for weaknesses, leading to a lack of direction, failure to carry out some legal responsibilities relating to teachers' performance objectives and insufficiently robust governance.

The £9 million Mountjoy, which opened at the end of 2012, caters for pupils with physical and learning difficulties, is now being run by acting head Lesley Cook, with support from a Weymouth special school management team.

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