Ofsted rates Bilton School inadequate - but pupils, parents and staff say the school has improved

Rugby's Bilton School has been rated inadequate in a recent Ofsted inspection, but it has been noted that some improvements have been made.

Bilton School. Photo: Google Streetview.

The inspection of the academy, which caters for pupils from 11 to 18, was conducted by Osted on October 1 and the results were recently published.

Bilton School became an academy April 2017 when its predecessor school was inspected by Ofsted and found to be inadequate and requiring special measures overall.

Improvements to the school since then have been noted, with the latest report stating: "The headteacher and trust have worked hard to improve the school since it became an academy.

"Pupils, parents and staff told us that this school has ‘improved so much’ since it became an academy.

"Leaders want all pupils to do their best and leave their school as well-rounded people.

"Leaders have introduced a new curriculum, employed new teachers and improved pupils’ behaviour."

​Why was the school rated inadequate?

Despite this, the school was given an overall score of inadequate because leaders were not assuring that all staff fully understand safeguarding procedures.

Ofsted criteria limit any judgement to inadequate when safeguarding issues have been identified - regardless of other improvements.

On safeguarding, the report states that, on occasions staff have waited too long to refer on concerns about pupils.

Some teachers do not regularly complete attendance registers as per leaders’ expectations - meaning leaders cannot be sure of where some pupils are.

The report adds that the safeguarding team is currently lacking clear leadership and there is insufficient oversight of vulnerable pupils - which means pupils could be at risk.

But it was found that leaders complete appropriate checks on all new employees and they keep accurate records.

In addition, leaders provided additional safeguarding training during the inspection.

Academy CEO urges people to read the full report to see the positives

Ranjit Samra, CEO of the Stowe Valley Trust, the multi-academy trust which includes Bilton School, urged anyone concerned to read the report in full so they can see the improvements.

He said: “In many senses the Ofsted report was very positive with huge leaps being made in performance, behaviour and the general direction of the school and sixth form.

"I urge anyone who sees the rating and feels that this is a cause for concern to read Ofsted’s report.

"It paints a much more positive picture than the rating would suggest.

“We are determined to make the necessary improvements and have shared our plans to address where we need to improve with Ofsted.

"They have verbally assured us that they have every confidence that we will make the required improvements rapidly and that the school will excel.

"This confidence is reflected in the school no longer being considered to require special measures.

“So, yes, we are disappointed with the judgement but know that we are very much on the right track.

"Ofsted noted the improvements we had made and, had the safeguarding issue been addressed in time, would have reflected this in its report.”

'The real picture is one of improvement'

A spokesperson for Warwickshire County Council said the real picture at Bilton School is one of improvement and advances.

They said: "The leadership team of Bilton School has continued its focus on making a Bilton a great school despite the recent Ofsted report which showed that the school’s rating has remained ‘inadequate’.

"This is because the real picture is one of improvement with various advances made including the appointments of new staff, pupil behaviour improving and pupils achieving aspirational end points.

"Its 2019 GCSE improvements were among the best in Coventry and Warwickshire.

"Other improvements include a large reduction in the incidence of bullying and prompt action taken when it does manifest itself.

"Leaders have completely reformed the sixth form with teachers sharing students’ enthusiasm and pupils achieving well in their studies.

"Pupils recommend it to younger pupils."

Visit reports.ofsted.gov.uk/provider/23/145575 to read the report in full.