Inspectors run the rule over lockdown teaching at major Doncaster secondary school

Schools inspectors have given their backing to one Doncaster’s biggest schools for its work during the pandemic.

By David Kessen
Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 3:06 pm

Inspectors carried out ‘remote’ visits to McAuley School, Cantley, as part of follow-up work after the school was rated as requiring improvement in 2019.

In his report, Ofsted inspector Matthew Vellensworth, said school leaders were taking effective action to provide education in the current circumstances.

But he said they should provide clarity and support for staff about expectations to provide remote education if pupils are self-isolating due to COVID-19, while most pupils remain on site.

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Pupils pictured waiting to get tested at McAuley Catholic High School. NDFP-09-03-21-McAuley 1-NMSY

During the spring term, almost all pupils were educated at home. Almost half of pupils with an education, health and care plan (EHC plan) were educated on site and almost half identified as vulnerable were educated on site.

At the time of the inspection, almost all pupils were being educated at school. A small group of year 11s were continuing their education remotely because of Covid-19 restrictions.

Mr Vellensworth said: “While providing a remote education, leaders have also continued planning for the future. During the spring term, leaders worked closely with pupils and families to ensure that pupils could access the curriculum remotely. They simplified the ways in which pupils accessed and handed in work. One parent commented that the ‘teaching throughout lockdown has been exceptional’.

"At the same time, leaders were able to continue with plans, developed after the last inspection, to improve the curriculum for years seven, eight and nine. Leaders plan to introduce the new curriculum in September 2021."

He said the school had done work towards finding gaps in pupils’ knowledge with more formal work planned.

In practical subjects, pupils were given materials at home but some work was moved to later in the term, when pupils would be in school.

Pupils felt ‘well supported by school leaders and teachers’.

For pupils not in school, teachers continue to offer remote education but it is more difficult for teachers to manage now they are teaching pupils in school.

Pupils with special needs were ‘well supported’ by the school during the pandemic.

Leaders were using the rest of this term to help pupils to settle back into school life.

Leaders’ work during the pandemic had led increasing numbers of parents to ‘feel positive about the work of the school’.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.