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On 26th November Ofsted published its inspection report on Harrop Fold School to parents.

The school which is currently in the process of an investigation into claims that members of staff allegedly skewed the books to imply it was doing better than it was has now been put into special measures by Ofsted.

After an investigation that took place between the 31st of October to the 1st of November this year (2018), Ofsted has found the school ‘inadequate’ in all areas and has placed the school in special measures.

In its report the regulator found that...

The school is failing its pupils. Significant and wide-ranging weaknesses have developed over time. These require urgent improvement. There is currently considerable uncertainty concerning its leadership.

Pupils are not properly safeguarded. The school site is not secure. Some policies that would support safeguarding are not in place.

Pupils’ progress is unacceptably weak. Over time, pupils’ GCSE results have been much lower than those achieved by similar pupils elsewhere, and are declining. Pupils currently in the school do not learn well enough.

Teaching and learning are highly inconsistent in quality. Teachers do not plan effectively to meet pupils’ needs. Teachers’ expectations are too low. Over time, training for staff has not addressed their needs or given them the knowledge and skills they require.

Pupils’ attendance is too low. Fewer pupils attend afternoon school and far too many do not attend classes when they are in school.

Some pupils’ behaviour is unacceptably poor. The school’s culture does not encourage pupils to behave well. This poor behaviour disrupts learning. Parents, carers and pupils say there is bullying.

Record-keeping about pupils’ attendance, behaviour and safeguarding has been weak.

The school has lost the confidence of some parents. They have serious concerns about the school. Communication with parents sometimes does not work well.

Governance is weak. Governors have different views about the school. They have failed to challenge senior leaders effectively or to prevent the school’s considerable weaknesses.

Additional funding, including the pupil premium, is not used well. Disadvantaged pupils’ outcomes are getting weaker over time.

The curriculum is not as effective as it could be in supporting pupils’ learning, the acquisition of knowledge or the development of their basic skills.

Inspectors say the school has been found to be failing to give pupils an acceptable standard of education as a result of long standing issues.

However Ofsted also gave credit to the school for steps taken by the interim senior leaders in starting to address the school’s problems, Pupils experience effective teaching in some subjects and classes as well as the fact that some pupils behave well and try hard in their learning.

As the school has been judged as inadequate, the next step will be for the Department for Education (DfE) to identify an experienced academy sponsor to support the school in making improvements.

Deputy City Mayor, Councillor John Merry, said the report made disturbing reading but clearly showed the long-standing nature of issues at the school.

He said:



“The Ofsted inspectors have identified and highlighted unsafe historic practices at the school, along with poor performance and achievement.

“Practices include the inappropriate, informal exclusion of pupils, deliberate mis-recording of attendance and weak practice in staff recruitment. This has potentially compromised the safeguarding of pupils as leaders and staff have not been in a position to ensure that they are safe. 

“I want to reassure all parents that, since the start of the September term, the interim senior leadership team provided by the local authority has stopped these practices.  Moreover, Ofsted inspectors highlighted the current leadership as a strength for the school.

“The Greater Manchester Learning Trust, which is providing the interim leadership, is committed to working alongside a new academy sponsor to provide stability and support for as long as needed.

 “I know there is a committed and hardworking team at Harrop Fold who want to do the very best for pupils. They should draw positives from the report in which Ofsted says new approaches introduced in many aspects of school life are having a real impact, even if they are at an early stage. It is important the whole school community gets behind the changes and works to common goals.

 “There has been a lot of speculation in the community regarding hidden agendas. Once again I want to reaffirm to everyone that the school, governors and local authority all want the same thing – for Harrop Fold pupils to be happy, safe and achieve their best.”


Link to the report: http://www.harropfold.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/10042489-Harrop-Fold-School-133351-Final-PDF.pdf

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