Senior management has been blamed for the failing of a secondary school, which has been put into special measures.
An official Ofsted inspection report published yesterday said leaders and governors at Oakmeeds Community College in Burgess Hill have been “slow to recognise a decline in students’ achievements”.
Inspectors said senior management overestimated the effectiveness of the secondary school – especially the quality of teaching – and governors failed to challenge senior leaders or hold them to account.
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In the classroom, students have been making slow progress in English and maths in Key Stages 3 and 4 and the quality of teaching, particularly in maths, was deemed inadequate.
The Ofsted report said teachers “do not have high enough expectations of what students should achieve” and in “too many lessons, work is not well matched to students’ different needs”.
The report revealed the most able students and those with special educational needs were not set challenging work to help them to reach their potential.
Inspectors also noted GCSE results at the school, which has more than 1,000 students, have fallen in recent years and were below national average in 2013.
School bosses have been told to “radically improve the quality of teaching, especially in maths” and “raise the effectiveness of leadership, management and governance”.
The school was judged in four categories during the inspection on January 29 and 30 this year. It was deemed as “inadequate” – the lowest possible grading – in achievement of pupils, quality of teaching and leadership and management.
The behaviour and safety of pupils was judged to “requiring improvement”.
On Wednesday parents received a letter from headteacher Colin Taylor which said inspectors took a “harsh view” on the school – but he vowed to improve standards.
Parents have also been sent a “post-Ofsted improvement plan” which has been written by school chiefs following the poor inspection.