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Farnborough school put into special measures

School drops two grades after an Ofsted inspection in March states students' progress is 'inadequate'

Cove School, St Johns Road, Farnborough
Cove School, St Johns Road, Farnborough

A failing school in Farnborough has been placed into special measures following its latest Ofsted inspection.

Cove School, in St John's Road, was placed into special measures after being judged as inadequate by the education watchdog.

The school was visited on March 27 and 28 and the report on the inspection, published on Tuesday, stated the progress of students has been inadequate for the past two years and remains uneven across many subjects.

The school, which has 970 students aged 11 to 16, has fallen two grades since its previous inspection in May 2011, which deemed it a “good” school.

But Caroline Pickup, chairman of governors for the school, said: “The governing body believes this judgement, based on just one and a half days’ inspection, is harsh and takes no account of the staffing challenges we have faced, nor does it provide a fair comparison with other local schools.”

The report states: “Standards in mathematics are inadequate due to inconsistencies in the teaching and leadership of the subject in recent years.

“Actions taken by the school to address these weaknesses have not prevented students from underachieving.

“The quality of teachers’ marking and the guidance given to students varies and is not good enough as it does not always help students to improve their work.

“Behaviour requires improvement as too many students do not demonstrate good attitudes to their learning.”

Ms Pickup said staffing issues contributed to the issues, adding: “Despite our collective efforts, there have been three changes of leadership in mathematics and 11 personnel changes in that subject alone in the last three years which have inevitably impacted upon the school.

“However, we remain committed to working with the whole school community to drive up standards.

“The school has not been complacent and strenuous efforts have been made to deal with extraordinary staffing issues.”

There have been eight staff members on maternity leave within the last few years, six of which were concurrent, and the deputy headteacher had been working towards a phased retirement, however, he has been asked to stay on by the governing body.

Despite the problems, some strengths were identified by Ofsted, such as students' achievement in science and the improvement of standards in some GCSEs, including English and modern foreign languages.

Headteacher Megan Davies Jones said: “We have managed staffing as best we can to off-set problems and we have sought to embed changes that will bring about improvement that can be sustained.

“The journey over the last three years has been upward but too slow.

“This news is very disappointing for everyone associated with the school but we are determined to get through this and want our parents to know that we will leave no stone unturned in our resolve to continue our efforts to raise standards.”

She said staffing was now more secure and all team members were committed to the school.

 
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