One of Doncaster’s biggest schools rated as “requires improvement” in latest Ofsted report 

Ridgewood School, Barnsley Road, Scawsby. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP Ridgewood School MC 3
Ridgewood School, Barnsley Road, Scawsby. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP Ridgewood School MC 3

A Doncaster secondary school has been told it must improve by Ofsted after inspectors highlighted weaknesses in maths attainment and in sixth form courses.

An inspection earlier this year resulted in Ridgewood School at Scawsby being told in an official Ofsted report this week that the academy for 1,385 pupils does 'require improvement' in the area of outcomes for pupils. 

However, the areas of effectiveness of leadership, the quality of teaching, learning and attainment in general, and pupils' development, behaviour and welfare were all judged as good.

The downgrade from an overall good in 2015 will be a disappointment for the school, that was also told to improve in 2013 and worked hard to gain its higher status. Schools must hit a rating of “good” in all four judgement areas to be rated as good overall. 

A summary in the report said: “Currently, pupils’ progress in key stages 3 and 4 is not good in mathematics. Over time, pupils’ progress by the end of Year 11 has declined considerably in this key subject. Consequently, outcomes for pupils are not good overall.

“The quality of teaching in the sixth form is not consistently good.

“Work set for students is not suitably challenging or pitched appropriately to meet students’ needs and abilities.

“Currently, students are not making consistently good progress across courses in the sixth form. This has been the case for the past two years. In the main school, teachers’ questioning is not always used to good effect to check and deepen pupils’ learning, particularly for most able pupils. “Leaders’ guidance on the teaching of mathematics is not fully effective.”

However the summary of the report praised other aspects of the school including “decisive and effective actions of the headteacher and governors are bringing about improvement quickly.”

It said that leaders “ demonstrate good capacity for further improvement” and  “clearly identified professional development for staff has resulted in good teaching overall and good leadership.”

And it added: “Teaching is consistently strong in science and English, where rapid improvements in progress are being made in pupils’ learning. Mathematics teaching is showing signs of improvement. Pupils’ attendance is above average and their attitudes to learning are positive. They are making a good contribution to improving their academic progress.”

Parents were told in a letter from headteacher Maggie Dunn, sent out earlier this week, that the inspection result was "very disappointing” and highlighted that only one of the four areas rated was rated as requires improvement. 

The letter added: “The criteria for grading the overall effectiveness of the school in the current Ofsted criteria is that all four areas must be good for the main school to be judged as good overall. Therefore, our school was given an overall grade of requires improvement. 

“This is very disappointing for us, especially as the five inspectors recognised the very strong aspects of the quality of education experienced by our students.

"The outcomes judgement was also linked to only one area of the school. We are currently working very hard to improve rates of progress in this area.

“I want to reassure you that, as always, we are continuing to strengthen Ridgewood School as we have done over the last four years.”

The 'very strong' leadership of the school's new director of sixth form was recognised by inspectors, along with the impact she is having, the letter added.”

The school was approached earlier this week but has not yet commented on the report.

The full report is on the Ofsted and the school’s website.