Back to 'Good' in rapid Ofsted turnaround for grammar school

A Sleaford school has reversed a negative Ofsted grading in less than 18 months.
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Carre’s Grammar School in Sleaford is one of just a handful of secondary schools to jump up two grades from an Inadequate rating to Good in its next full inspection in less than 18 months.

In late 2022 inspectors graded the grammar as Inadequate citing safeguarding issues as the main reason for the ranking. It prompted the head of Carre’s Nick Law to write a scathing letter to Ofsted about its original “irrational” assessment.

A single finding of inadequate means that is the overall grade given to the school. The school had previously been rated as ‘good’ in 2017.

Headteacher Nick Law and pupils pleased to see a rapid reversal of Carre's Grammar School's negative Ofsted report in just 18 months.Headteacher Nick Law and pupils pleased to see a rapid reversal of Carre's Grammar School's negative Ofsted report in just 18 months.
Headteacher Nick Law and pupils pleased to see a rapid reversal of Carre's Grammar School's negative Ofsted report in just 18 months.

The inspectors’ concerns revolved around the way records were kept in different places and how often they are checked, meaning some pupils may be left “vulnerable and at risk”. But the school was in the midst of transferring all files to a new single, digital records system.

The report, released this week, said: “This is a good school. The curriculum is ambitious for all pupils, particularly pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities. Pupils value this change. Many feel privileged to attend Carre’s Grammar School.

“Staff set high expectations of pupils. Pupils’ behaviour is often exemplary. In lessons there is a positive climate of debate and discussion that enriches the learning. Pupils are respectful, articulate and polite.

“The school does not tolerate bullying. Pupils know they have adults they can turn to if they have concerns and that these will be quickly resolved.

Carre's headteacher Nick law and students, pleased to see a rapid reversal of their school's Ofsted rating.Carre's headteacher Nick law and students, pleased to see a rapid reversal of their school's Ofsted rating.
Carre's headteacher Nick law and students, pleased to see a rapid reversal of their school's Ofsted rating.

“Behaviour and attitudes are excellent. Attendance is high. Students in the sixth form are incredibly positive role models for the rest of the school.

“There is an ambition and commitment to ensure that the school continues its improvement journey. Staff feel well-supported. They describe the school as a family.”

The latest Ofsted grading also comes in the wake of an excellent set of exam results in the summer.

Headteacher Nick Law said he was delighted but not surprised by the remarkable turnaround at the school.

“I never really believed we were an Inadequate school after the previous inspection, but we took on board all of the points made by the report and have worked tirelessly to address them as quickly and effectively as possible,” he said.

“Our success has been due to three major factors – the dedication and commitment of the staff, the positive attitude of the students and the remarkable support of the parents, Trustees and governors.

“The turnaround in the inspectors’ assessment has been remarkable, perhaps not unprecedented, but not far off, but none of that could have been achieved without the whole school community pulling together.

“I am incredibly proud of the work that has been done and relieved that the academy has an Ofsted grading that truly reflects the school we are.”

His feelings were reflected by some of the students at Carre’s.

Year Nine pupil, Ieuan said things had changed in the last 18 months: “We get more of a say in what happens at the school now. my learning experience has improved as a result.”

Year 10 student Sam definitely did not agree with the last Ofsted assessment. He said: “It didn’t make sense. Ofsted should have taken the new computer system into account.”

Sixth former and joint Head of School Council Elliot said the school already plans to improve, so it was easier to bounce back quickly, putting the last Ofsted visit down to bad timing. He said: “We used to allow members of the public walk in and use the gym during the daytime but that has stopped now. Our staff are great.”

Fellow Head of the School Council, Alissa commented that the negative Ofsted grade had added stress to the teachers. “We were already at a good standard and the report was out of place. As a girl here I have always felt safe and welcomed, despite it being a boys school. My needs are addressed and it is very diverse and inclusive with groups for all sorts of people.”

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