Ellesmere Port high school placed in special measures after damning Ofsted report

Reporter:

David Triggs

Steps have already been taken to improve a troubled Ellesmere Port school which was found to be ‘inadequate’ by inspectors.

The £25m University Church of England Academy (UCEA), on Whitby Road, is ‘addressing the need for rapid and sustained progress’ following a damning Ofsted inspection in April.

The school is part of the University of Chester Academies Trust (UCAT), which says it is pressing ahead with positive action in the wake of the report.

Cath Green, principal of the University of Chester Academy Northwich, has taken up the role of executive principal at Ellesmere Port having previously worked there as vice-principal. She is being supported by principal Iain Robinson.

Mrs Green said UCEA has ‘considerable potential’, adding: “Although the Ofsted headlines make difficult reading, we know from experience with all the other secondary schools across UCAT, which are showing real signs of improvement, that positive change is possible.

“My pledge will help to give us the incentive to achieve that change together as a community. It is a personal commitment to all pupils and their families at UCEA.

“I will work relentlessly alongside the staff at the academy to ensure that every young person has the right climate for learning, so that they can realise their potential.”

The latest Ofsted report, published on June 12, revealed the school’s overall effectiveness had slipped from ‘requires improvement’ in 2015 to ‘inadequate’. Four other key areas – effectiveness of leadership and management; quality of teaching, learning and assessment; personal behaviour, development and welfare; and outcomes for pupils – were also rated as ‘inadequate’ while the sixth form ‘requires improvement’.

The school was placed into special measures by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman, meaning it can be subject to short-notice Ofsted inspections as it works towards improving its rating.

Subject experts from the University of Chester’s Faculty of Education and Children’s Services will be work with departments within UCEA to provide professional development for teachers. They will also work in partnership with UCAT staff to recruit and retain teachers.

Professor Tim Wheeler, the university’s vice-chancellor, said: “UCAT has appointed Cath Green to reinforce the school’s management team in the short-term.

“The university will be complementing Cath’s direction and UCAT’s operational strategy with a programme of activities designed to support UCEA’s progress further.”

UCEA has 750 pupils, making it a smaller-than-average secondary school. It was opened in 2009, replacing Cheshire Oaks High School and the Ellesmere Port Specialist School of Performing Arts.

See full story in the Chester Leader

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