Onwards and upwards for Potters Bar school in Ofsted report

Head Peter Baker

Head Peter Baker - Credit: Archant

An Oftsted inspection of a Potter Bar school in special measures has found that leaders are taking effective action to fix things.

Mount Grace School.

Mount Grace School. - Credit: Archant

Ofsted inspectors wrote to Mount Grace School’s headteacher Peter Baker on November 8 to commend the school’s efforts and signal the areas that still need improvement.

Mount Grace was put into special measures after an Ofsted inspection that rated the school ‘inadequate’ in January 2017.

Since then, there have been two monitoring inspections - and the latest one found that Mount Grace leaders “are taking effective action”.

They found that both the school’s statement of action, and its improvement plan, are fit for purpose.

“Typically, pupils attend well, behave appropriately and work hard,” said the report, adding that attendance had improved and bad language reduced. Pupils told inspectors that behaviour is markedly better - and sixth formers were particularly positive.

Leaders at the school are being supported to make the changes they need, and oversight of the quality of teaching and assessment was described as “well-developed”.

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The 2017 inspection had reported an urgent need to improve maths and science, and new hires have been made.

Though the school has put a maths action plan in place, inspectors said it’s too early to see its effects. Hurdles have been cleared at sixth form level, but the quality still varies for younger pupils.

The inspectors noted that pupils with special educational needs and disabilities are much better served than before, but still raised concerns about the progress of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Mr Baker said he and the governors were “delighted” by the positives, citing improved GCSEs and A-levels in recent years. However, he added that they are “very focused on those things that need to improve”.

He’s enthusiastic about the inspectors’ recommendations. “We’re able to make these changes to carry the school yet further. We’re confident that the things we’re putting into effect are having an impact.”

Pupils seem to agree. One pupil said: “Whatever you’re going through, the staff here stand shoulder to shoulder with you.”