Leeds school challenges Ofsted over judgement


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A popular north Leeds school is challenging an inspectors' report which graded Allerton Grange as 'Requires Improvement' despite Ofsted acknowledging that results have "improved dramatically" to above the national average in many subjects, including English, maths and languages since its previous 'good' rating in 2012.

The school's leadership, supported by Leeds City Council, believe that Ofsted has failed in its duty to make accurate judgements about the current high standards in the school and the rapid progress it is making.

Since the arrival of Mike Roper as Headteacher in 2015, it has been widely recognised that Allerton Grange has undergone significant improvements, successfully raising standards in all areas, resulting in a long waiting list for places. A large proportion of Allerton Grange students now move on to the very best universities in the country.

The school feel Ofsted has focused too greatly on performance prior to 2015 and has judged the school on progress across five years, rather than on the dramatic improvement of the past two years under Mr Roper's leadership. Some lessons were observed for as few as three minutes and excellent progress by students currently in the school was completely overlooked. As a result, a formal challenge to the Ofsted judgement has been submitted.

Andrew Eastwood, Head of Learning Improvement and Children's Services for Leeds City Council said: "Like the school and the community it serves, we are disappointed with this report as we feel it presents an overly negative view of the school.

"We are pleased, however, that it does acknowledge the obvious improvements which have taken place in the school since the appointment of Mike Roper as head teacher and other leadership changes. Pupil attendance, behaviour, progress in maths and English, progress of the more able students and current progress in the majority of subjects are all much better than they were two and a half years ago."

Mr Roper said: "Whilst it is pleasing that Ofsted acknowledges significant improvements, including identifying our sixth form as extremely good, it is highly disappointing that they have not recognised the aspirational targets and large investment in teaching and learning resulting in such good progress for our current students.

"I know we have the right team in place to reach the excellent results we want for our students and expect any return visit in the next 12 months to recognise 'strong progress' in the recommended areas for improvement."

Families of current students feel overwhelmingly positive towards the school. More than 650 families returned the Ofsted parent survey, the largest number the Ofsted inspection team had seen. Over 89% are clear that Allerton Grange is a school they would recommend to other parents.

Equally, the local authority has "complete confidence that leaders in the school will continue to make the necessary improvements which will bring about a judgement of good at the school's next inspection."

Mr Roper said: "As the thousands of parents, students and members of the local community who have visited Allerton Grange over the past two years will know, the school is driving relentlessly towards further success. We are determined to see this inaccurate judgement overturned as quickly as possible. Everyone at Allerton Grange will continue to focus on high aspirations and the best quality teaching and learning, enabling every student to achieve their full potential."

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